An update, some squeeing and probably some other stuff…

I haven’t been blogging as much lately. I’m sure you’ve noticed. It turns out that self-publishing for the first time, combined with prepping to re-release an entire trilogy, all in the lead-up to the silly season, is quite time consuming.

Who knew?

Still, there have been a few exciting things going on. On the Lucid Dreaming front, a beautiful box of paperbacks arrived. I squealed so loudly I may have frightened the dog. I then got to do one of my favourite things: autographing books to fulfil orders for some of my favourite people.

If you’re interested in an autographed copy, they are AU$15 plus postage. (I realise that could get a little XX-y for people that are outside Australia, but the offer is available worldwide regardless.) Send me an email at cassandrapage01(at)gmail.com and we can sort out the details.

Excitingly, if you don’t want me to deface sign your book, I discovered today that Lucid Dreaming has made it onto The Book Depository. Free shipping worldwide. Whee!

Lucid Dreaming paperbacks

Aren’t they lovely?

As for Isla’s Inheritance, I had a very exciting moment when a friend posted this picture on Facebook. Yup, that’s my book, sitting next to Indigenous Governance and a little bit of Skulduggery Pleasant. Sweeeeeeet.

Isla_library

ERMAGERD!

For those of you that are waiting for the series re-release (especially for the paperbacks of Isla’s Oath and Melpomene’s Daughter, which TMP never issued), it isn’t far away now. I’ve re-edited all three books and am now proofing the gorgeously designed galley  KILA Designs did for Isla’s Inheritance.

And the cover reveal for the entire trilogy is this Saturday. You can still sign up here!

Isla's Inheritance galley

It even has little arrowheads!

And, of course, I’ve also been decorating Christmas trees, organising presents, and all the other things that happen at this time of year. Once Christmas is done and the Isla trilogy is back on sale, I might just collapse in a heap for a bit…

…who am I kidding? I’ll start writing the sequel to Lucid Dreaming. 😉


Lucid Dreaming release day!

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! Two years, two months and ten days after I originally typed “the end”, Lucid Dreaming has finally made its way into the world. It has been through beta readers, competitions, and various delightful, encouraging and supportive industry professionals. So many people have helped out along the way that I’m actually a little worried I might forget someone. If I do, please forgive me!

The obligatory thank you speech

Firstly, thank you and confetti cannons to everyone who helped during the drafting of Melaina’s story: to Peter, my enduring bad-guy consultant; to Shane for his nursing advice; and to Fad for answering questions about police procedure. Any errors of fact or bad guy failures are my fault, not theirs. To everyone who read the drafts in various states and gave me valuable advice and encouragement — Stacey Nash, Kim Last, Craig Lawrie, Rena Rossner and Dannie Morin in particular — thank you and squishy hugs.

Also, thank you to my wonderful editor, Lauren K. McKellar, who asks all the hardest questions, talks to me about ellipses and spots even the tiniest inconsistencies. This book wouldn’t be half of what it is without you.

The cover is brought to you by the aforementioned Kim from KILA Designs, who patiently bore with me while I threw random design ideas at her (including a last-minute change to the paperback design that she did yesterday!) and then produced something wonderful. Bless your socks, lady!

Thank you to my friends and family for putting up with my frequent absences and blank stares, for feeding me coffee and Bad Chicken, and for being my cheer-squad: Mum, Dad, Kristy, Ali, Craig, Karen, Mikey, Peter, Cassandra, Nicole, the BC09 girls and the AOR girls. Also, a special mention goes to Bec, who puts up with my irrational love of hyphens.

And finally, thank you to my son, Nathaniel, who asked me why I “worked” in the study after he went to bed, and then said when he grew up he’d be an editor so he could help me proofread my work. Sweetheart, with your imagination I have no doubt I’ll be proofreading yours. Love you, little guy.

The obligatory buy links

(For the ebook, that is. The paperback is maybe 48 hours away from being available — see previous comment about me making a last-minute change. My bad!)

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

As this post goes live, the only one of these sites that says “buy” rather than “pre-order” is Amazon Australia. But if you’re patient and keep clicking refresh, the rest of the world will catch up eventually. (That’s how timezones work, right?)

The obligatory blurb and cover photo

Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?

Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.

But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning – before the nightmares come for her.

The obligatory shot of me holding the proof and grinning like a loon

Lucid Dreaming proof

If you buy Lucid Dreaming, then mwah! Hugs and kittens to you, dear reader.


Halloween Hijinks, Lucid Dreaming Pre-orders, and a Giveaway

HAPPY HALLOWEEN*!

It’s four days until Lucid Dreaming is released, and in hindsight you can bet your favourite pair of slippers that I wish I’d organised the release for today instead of Melbourne Cup Day. Because I don’t have even a single horse in the book.

Unless you count all the NIGHTMARES!

Get it? GET IT?

(Sigh.)

Skeleton cowboy flees bad joke (source: Shutterstock)

Skeleton cowboy flees bad joke (source: Shutterstock)

It would have been an especially good tie-in, because — as is pretty clear from the blurb — one of the primary focuses of the book is the freaky things that lurk in our dreaming minds. Especially the things that are born from real monsters.

Anyway, to celebrate Halloween and because I’m a stand-up kind of person, if you leave a comment on this post with your favourite spooky monster you’ll receive a chance to win an ebook of Lucid Dreaming in the format of your choice. The competition will run for three days, or until I decide to draw it (because I’m fickle like that!).

If you’re too impatient (which I totally respect) or don’t have a favourite spooky monster, then here are the various ebook pre-order links. There will be a paperback, but I expect it to be delayed by about a week — I’m waiting for my winged monkeys to deliver my proof so I can fondle it check it before authorising the final.

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

Also, in case you missed it, I’ve been interviewed over at Aussie Owned and Read. Check it out!


* In the Southern Hemisphere, at least. ^

^ Wibbly wobbly … timey wimey … stuff.


 

Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?

Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.

But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning – before the nightmares come for her.

LD teaser_blight


Cover reveal: ‘Lucid Dreaming’

I do a few cover reveals on this blog, mostly for folks that I know and whose writing I adore. But this one is special, because it’s for ONE OF MINE!

*insert incoherent squealing here*

Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?

Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.

But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning – before the nightmares come for her.

Add on Goodreads

LD_CoverFront_Reveal_LR

Designer: KILA Designs

I have been wanting to share this book with you guys for more than a year now, so I’m delighted that it’s finally going to happen. To celebrate, here is a teaser! Noticed how I coordinated the colours? Because that’s how I roll. 😀

LD_Brad_quote_font


Update on Lucid Dreaming

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me doing virtual cartwheels because I finished the final proofread of Lucid Dreaming. That means the manuscript is DONE. DONE, I SAY!

Well, except for the formatting. So almost done. :p

That means we’re on track for early November release. If you’ve got any kind of social media and would be interested in taking part in the cover reveal on 3 September, you can sign up here and the lovely Giselle will email you the info pack a couple days before. I’d love to have you. 🙂

Of course, that means I have more editing to do. This afternoon I’m going to get stuck into my first-round edit on the as-yet-unnamed fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece.

Who knows, maybe I’ll go crazy and name it too!

Lucid Dreaming Wordle

Lucid Dreaming chapter one word art courtesy of Wordle


I finished writing a book, you guys

I had an amazingly productive week last week. It turns out all I need to have happen in order for me to get things done is:

a) have a medical treatment that means I feel fine but can’t be around people because I am slightly radioactive, and

b) send my son to his father’s place interstate for a week (see a, above).

Lead container

This is what a lead container holding a radioactive tablet looks like. Note the gloves. #TwoByTwoHandsOfBlue

I had my expensive tablet on Tuesday of last week and went home to my silent house. There, I spent all day continuing to work on my edits for Lucid Dreaming, finishing them by dinnertime. (If you need an editor for an indie project, I can strongly recommend Lauren K. McKellar.)

The next day, I cracked open my work in progress, the fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before. I was only a few chapters from the end, so I wrote … and wrote … and wrote… By the weekend, when I collected my son, I had 12k words down, with only a couple thousand left needed to finish the book.

I wrote those couple thousand on Monday night this week.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll have seen me getting all giddy about it. Because although the draft is — like all first drafts — as rough as guts, and there are a couple of niggling plot holes I have to fix before I do anything else, it’s DONE! And that is the best feeling, because you can’t edit nothing. And because I am a super-slow writer, and the fact I’ve managed to finish five novels is just OMG wow, you guys.

Happy pointing

This was me, basically. Only with more glasses and less bow tie. #BowTiesAreCool

I started this project in October last year, around the same time Isla’s Inheritance came out. It was always a challenging project for me, because I’ve only ever written urban fantasy before, and I found fantasy a lot more difficult due to the world-building required. (That’s why I put off writing it for over a year.) But I attribute more of the delay to the fact I released two books after I started drafting — editing and promotion are time-consuming — and wrote two novellas for different projects as well.

The book doesn’t yet have a name; it’s working title was (wait for it) “Greek Fantasy”. I am a freaking legend at naming things! It’s currently 92k words, making it the longest first draft I’ve ever done.

The plan from here is to proofread Lucid Dreaming so I can give it to the formatter, and then I will read over Greek Fantasy and tidy it up for my critique partners. And then I will start the sequel to Lucid Dreaming, which also doesn’t have a name yet.

(send help)


Snazzy Snippets: Excerpts From My November Release

Copy-of-Snippets-image

Two wonderful bloggers, Emily and Alyssa, have started a new blog link-up where writers can share snippets from one of their works. To quote from Emily’s post, “It’s an opportunity for writers! Every two months, we post a prompt or question for you to share a snippet of less than 500 words. It’s designed to let you have fun, analyse your work on a smaller level, or just write something to join in.”

So because I finished the main edits on Lucid Dreaming on Tuesday, I’ve decided to share some of that with you. I love this story, you guys, and Melaina, the main character, is all kinds of awesome.

Snippet number one: A snippet that shows your MC’s personality

He spoke in a rush, as though that would make it less embarrassing. “I’ve been having these recurring nightmares, and I tried sleeping tablets but then I couldn’t wake up, which was worse, and the doctor referred me to a psychologist, but I rang them and they said it could be months before I get in.” The lamplight flashed off the lenses of his glasses, partially obscuring his bloodshot eyes. Fatigue lined his face. I guessed he was in his mid-twenties, a little older than my twenty-one, but it was hard to tell. “Honestly, I’m desperate.”

“I can see that,” I said. Despite my attempt to soften my tone, he bristled. I cringed inside. I didn’t have enough customers that I could afford to drive them off. “Look, Larry, I get it. You don’t really believe I can help you. You wouldn’t be the first customer to feel that way. So I’ll tell you what—if I can’t do anything for you, the appointment’s free.”

He blinked brown eyes that would have been nice, if the whites hadn’t been spider-webbed with veins. He was clearly trying to figure out the catch.

“Scout’s honour,” I added. Or Girl Scouts. Whatever. “What have you got to lose?”

“Nothing, I guess.” His fingers worried at the fringe of the orange throw rug where it hung over the arm of the chair. “Okay, what do I do?”

“The first thing I need you to do is relax. Would you like a cup of herbal tea?” He looked as if I’d offered him a ferret in a sock, eyebrows shooting towards his hairline. It was the most animated expression I’d seen from him yet. “It’s my own blend. Lavender and chamomile, and a few other things. Nothing illegal or dodgy. It’ll help you relax.”

“Okay. I guess.”

The pot was already brewing on top of the freestanding drawers in which I stored my minimal tools of the trade. Candles. Essential oils. A rainbow of small crystals Serenity had given me as a “rentiversary” present. A half-eaten bag of individually wrapped caramels. Herbs in little bags, neatly labelled with stickers. A few CDs of the sort you’d expect: rainforest noises, the ocean, whale song.

All flimflammery, of course. Except the caramels.

Snippet number two: A snippet featuring the villain

There are a few different options here, and some of them are spoiler-y, so I’ve elected to go with a non-spoiler-y one, from later in the same chapter as the above excerpt.

I closed my eyes and looked into Larry’s dreams.

I was expecting to find a tortured psyche, an aspect of his subconscious manifesting itself there. Daddy or mummy issues, arachnophobia, anxiety, even garden-variety stress: I’d seen them all at one point or another. I couldn’t fix his psychological issues, but I could put a temporary block on his dreams until his doctor’s referral came good.

That was what it usually was.

What I found was a thing.

It was an amorphous black cloud about the size of my torso. Greasy as a burger shop floor, it had yellowing eyes and writhing tentacles … if tentacles could be covered with fine hair and worm into your skin like something from a bad horror movie.

I’d seen manifestations of people’s nightmares before, more times than I could count. But this wasn’t part of Larry. It was an interloper — a blight.

“Hello,” I said.

The blight hissed like a feral cat over a broken-backed lizard that wasn’t quite dead. Around us, the dreamscape resolved into a rolling hillside, distinctly Australian in its gentle undulations. No sharp-edged peaks here. The grass underfoot was withered, not by the summer sun but by the blight’s corruption. A single eucalypt wept tears of black sap. Clouds loomed, obscuring the vast sky.

I wouldn’t have picked Larry for the rural landscape type. Sometimes you can never tell.

I stared. “You’re an ugly little grease-ball, aren’t you?”

The blight’s eyes were flat, uncomprehending and angry. I wasn’t going to be able to goad it into letting go. And I didn’t want to attack it while those tentacles were embedded in the reddish dirt beneath the tree. What if one of them tore off? That could result in residual badness for Larry, like leaving a bee sting under the skin to spit toxins long after the bee has died.

Still, the blight was only small. I could take it.

Snippet number three: A snippet that’s mostly dialogue

I don’t think I have any that are mostly dialogue, John Green-style, but this one at least has a decent amount. Context: It’s from the next chapter. Melaina’s mother is in a nursing home, and Ewan is one of the nurses that works there.

Ewan stepped back. When he spoke, his tone was reassuring. “She really is doing well.”

“Compared to what?” I asked, my voice sharp. If Mum were awake she’d chide me.

Ewan didn’t take my bad mood personally. “Compared to my other sleeper.”

There was an old man in the home who slept twenty-four hours a day. Was that technically a coma? I had no idea, but the nurse’s comment made me feel ungrateful. At least I got to talk to Mum sometimes. If I timed it right.

Oblivious to my thoughts, Ewan continued, “Her physical fitness is pretty good for someone as inactive as she is, although I admit she still gets exhausted easily. But she’s staying awake an hour or so longer a day than she was six months ago.”

“Really?” That surprised me.

He nodded, making a note on a chart that had been tucked discreetly underneath a small pile of magazines on the tiny table. “Yup. Doctor Willis didn’t mention it?”

“Nope. But he doesn’t work for me, does he?”

“Well, no, I guess he doesn’t,” Ewan said.

Something about his tone made me frown at him. “Is there anything else the doctor isn’t telling me?”

Glancing at me, Ewan put the chart down and crossed to the door, closing it. The jingling from the TV down the hall fell mercifully silent. He folded his arms across his chest, his gaze weighing me up. I tried to smile but nerves jangled in my stomach, making the expression feel forced. So I gave up and scowled. “Spill.”

“Doctor Willis has been talking to your uncle about drug treatments,” Ewan said slowly. “He was surprised they hadn’t been tried before. When I overheard them, they were talking about antidepressants.”

“They haven’t been tried because she doesn’t want them,” I said.

I know that and you know that.” Ewan pointed from himself to me and then shrugged.

“Uncle Ian has power of attorney over her.” I clenched and unclenched my fists, the beginning of a headache pinching at my temples. “Has he authorised it yet?”

“No. And he can’t, unless she grants him enduring power of attorney, which I understand she hasn’t. Her medical treatments are still her decision.”

“Good.”

“But he can put a lot of pressure on her to agree.”

I must have looked determined or pissed off—probably both—because Ewan shifted from foot to foot. “Uh, hey, you didn’t hear any of this from me, okay? I could lose my job if they find out I discussed confidential information with you.”

So those are my snippets. If you want to take part, you can link your post so others can see it — just scroll to the bottom of this post and you’ll find the linky list there. (Sorry, I’m not sure how to link to it independently.) You can also paste the link in the comments below so I can go check it out.

And if you liked the sound of these excerpts and are a Goodreads user, you can add Lucid Dreaming to your TBR shelf here.

You know, if you want to.

No pressure. :p

Lucid Dreaming banner


Bookish, blurbish news on my new urban fantasy

Lucid Dreaming banner

Lucid Dreaming, my adult urban fantasy, is scheduled to come out in November this year. Like the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, this book is set in Australia, and deals with complex family relationships and the bridge between humans and the supernatural. Unlike Isla, though, Melaina already has a clear idea of her place in the world and is content to make her way within it.

But her absentee scoundrel of a father is an Oneiroi, a Greek spirit of dreams, and is wanted by his own kind — a fact that gets her in all kinds of trouble.

The manuscript is currently with my wonderful editor, and the cover is more or less done thanks to KILA Designs, so it’s all starting to feel real. I’m thrilled at the idea of finally sharing this book with you. I adore Melaina’s story, and I hope you will too.

In the meantime, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite.

Who would have thought your dreams could kill you?

Melaina makes the best of her peculiar heritage: half human and half Oneiroi, or dream spirit, she can manipulate others’ dreams. At least working out the back of a new age store as a ‘dream therapist’ pays the bills. Barely.

But when Melaina treats a client for possession by a nightmare creature, she unleashes the murderous wrath of the creature’s master. He could be anywhere, inside anyone: a complete stranger or her dearest friend. Melaina must figure out who this hidden adversary is and what he’s planning — before the nightmares come for her.

Lucid Dreaming is also up on Goodreads, and if you add it to your to-read list, I’ll be forever grateful. Really, I will. There’ll be dancing and everything.


Beautiful People: Valentine’s edition

Beautiful People

Beautiful People is a monthly meme for writers. Every month, the hosts — Cait at Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In — post a list of 10 questions for writers to answer about your characters. It’s designed to help everyone get to know the chosen characters: their quirks, their personality, their flaws, and who they are.

This month’s theme is luuuuuurve, because tomorrow is Half-Price-Chocoalte Day or whatever. For something different, I wanted to talk about the characters in my as-yet-unreleased adult urban fantasy, Lucid Dreaming: Melaina and Brad. I haven’t announced this officially yet, but I’m currently gearing up to release Lucid Dreaming in the last quarter of 2015. Woo!

How long have they been a couple?

They meet and get together during the course of the story. By the end of the book they’ve been together about a week and a half.

What? It is a very busy week and a half!

How did they first meet?

That’s a little awkward, and Brad doesn’t like to talk about it…

But I’m his author, so I will. 😉 Basically, he kinda sorta tries to strangle her in her bed. He doesn’t actually remember it, though. He was asleep at the time.

What were their first thoughts of each other? (Love at first sight or “you’re freakishly annoying”?)

Her first thought was, “Who is that weirdly dressed hot guy following me home?” His — a day later — was, “I don’t know her so she must be here to visit the woman sharing my ward room. Dammit!”

What do they do that most annoys each other?

Other than the way they met? (Melaina was pretty bloody annoyed about that!)

They haven’t really been together long enough to discover that they hate the way the other person hogs the remote or puts the toilet paper on the dispenser (over vs under: the eternal debate).

Are their personalities opposite or similar?

Somewhere in between. Brad is a bit of a sceptic about the supernatural when they first get together, so Melaina’s explanations about what is happening to him just make him angry. But once he realises she’s for real, he starts to come around.

Melaina is much more open-minded about that sort of thing — just because she’s never seen a ghost, that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

How would their lives be different without each other?

There’d be a lot less kissing, for a start! 😉

Are they ever embarrassed about each other?

Give it time! Brad might have been worried about taking her home to meet the parents, given her nose piercing and blue fringe, but he’s an orphan. And his sister, the other relative who might disapprove, liked Melaina before he did.

Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?

Yes. Melaina’s friend Jen is wary at first, worried Brad might have another “incident”. Her other sometimes friend (frienemy?), Leander, has similar concerns.

Do they see their relationship as long-term/leading to marriage?

By the end of the book they both know they really like — maybe even love — one another. But they haven’t had a chance to consider it going any further than that. Honestly, I didn’t really give them much of a chance to ponder.

I’m so mean.

If they could plan the “perfect outing” together, where would they go?

Melaina would like to go somewhere that there aren’t too many people, like a bed and breakfast in the country, or a beach house down at the coast. Brad wouldn’t mind too much, but he’d want it to be a well appointed bed and breakfast or beach house, and he’d organise for chocolates and a bottle of champagne to be left in their room…

Lucid Dreaming Brad


A couple of things: PitchSlam and bookends

Just a quick note to let you know of two other places you can find me, or at least my various thought bubbles.

Today over at Aussie Owned and Read, I’m looking at bookends. You know, the things you use to stop your books from falling over if you don’t already have so many that there’s nowhere for them to go? Those.

Also, in the past few days I was a Pitch Slam finalist. I got some awesome feedback on my pitch and first 250 words during the “audition” rounds and was then chosen to be part of Team Stray Tats. I have a stray tat (or a tat of a cat that may be stray — haha, I rhymed), so that seemed appropriate. You can see my pitch here.

I got one request too. *plays air guitar* Thanks to Lucas for having enough faith in me to put me on the team. 🙂