New year’s resolutions: 2015 edition


Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and it is loads of fun. You should all partake of it. PARTAKE! (Please imagine I said that in my best Dalek voice.) This week’s theme is: “Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015 — bookish, blogging or otherwise!”

I’ve discovered over the last two years that blogging about my goals is a really great way to hold myself accountable, and make sure I actually do the things I set out to do.

2014 recap

Celebrate the launch of Isla’s Inheritance in October (or thereabouts). Convince as many of you as possible to buy it. Check. Sort of. I dunno if I’ve convinced as many of you as possible. I mean, I haven’t paid people with kittens or threatened dire consequences if people don’t. But people
have readIsla's Inheritance button it, and left nice reviews around the place. So I’m pretty happy about that.

Finish writing and editing the third book in Isla’s trilogy, so it’s ready to go to Turquoise Morning Press when they ask for it. Check. Right now, I’m actually halfway through re-reading it after the second-round edits from TMP. I really love this story, you guys. I know we’re not meant to have favourites among our children, but of the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, the third book in the series, Melpomene’s Daughter, is definitely my favourite. Shh!

Find a home for Lucid Dreaming, whether that be via the agent/traditional press route or the small press route. This is the one resolution I have’t yet been successful on, for reasons that would require another blog post. But I have a plan of action. Hopefully I’ll be able to share something with you around the middle of next year. (By the way, there’s a lesson in this for everyone: don’t set goals that are outside your control. You can’t make people offer on your manuscripts, and sometimes people love them but don’t offer on them anyway, for market reasons or list reasons or whatever. Publishing is a tricky thing.)

Start writing something else. Possibly a sequel to Lucid Dreaming, although there’s that steampunk I’ve been thinking about for aaaages. I’m currently 18,000 words into the aforementioned steampunk, although the steampunk elements are actually pretty light. A year later, I describe it as historical fantasy. 🙂 I also self-published a novella under another pen name, Tammy Calder. It’s 8500 words long.

That means in 2014 I wrote…a lot of words. Probably in the order of 70,000, counting Melpomene’s Daughter, although I didn’t track it. And that doesn’t count blog posts and reviews. Whew. Chuck Wendig estimated he wrote 750,000 words this year, but we can’t all be Chuck, I guess! (I can’t even grow a beard.)

Read. I’ll set my Goodreads target to 40 again, see how it goes. Kicked this one out of the ballpark.

2015 goals

Reading goals

Aussie author challengeRead lots of books. I’ve set my Goodreads target to 40 again, with the caveat that childrens books and novellas don’t count. If I read 10 of those, I need to read 50 titles overall. Otherwise I have to wear the cone of shame.

Read a variety of Australian books. I’m also doing the Aussie Readers challenge over at Goodreads. For that, I need to read 12 books by Australian writers in 12 different genres. I’ll post my choices in a blog post in the new year. I’m looking forward to it — it’s a very exciting list!

aww-badge-2015Read books by Australian women. I’m also going to do the Australian Women Writers challenge again in 2015. There’s a lot of overlap between this list and number two, I confess — currently my Aussie readers challenge list only includes one bloke. Still, since this year I read and reviewed 11 books by Australian women, my plan for 2015 is to set my own goal of 15. I think I can do it, and it means this challenge is pushing me further than the previous one. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Writing and publishing goals

Release Isla’s Oath and Melpomene’s Daughter on time, with as much fanfare as I can manage. The former is scheduled for release on 20 January, and the latter for the week of 20 April (I don’t have an exact date). SO EXITE! Isla’s Oath is already available for preorder aButton_Isla's Oathnd is on NetGalley, but I still have some promo stuff to finish off. And as I mentioned, Melpomene’s Daughter is still in the editing process. Busy busy busy.

Finish my historical fantasy. The four other novels (and even the novella) I’ve written have been urban fantasy, and the novels have all been in the first person. Switching to historical fantasy and the third person has required a massive change of gears. But I’ve wanted to tell this story for three years now, and the thrill of actually seeing it come to life is pretty high. Sure, there are growing pains, but that’s to be expected. And fixing it afterwards is what edits are for!

Give Lucid Dreaming the attention it deserves. I love this book, you guys. At least as much as Melpomene’s Daughter. I’ve neglected it a bit this year — having three books scheduled for release over the space of seven months does tend to eat up your time — but 2015 will be its year. I promise. *pats manuscript reassuringly*

Write another novella for Tammy Calder. Enough said about that. 😉

Blog at least twice a week. This will require some planning, since I’m going away to the coast with my son and some friends for a week at the end of January (a few days after Isla’s Oath comes out — oops), but I can do it. I don’t need to sleep, right?

What are your goals for this year, reading, writing or otherwise?

I have ‘Isla’s Oath’ news – and an excerpt to celebrate!


So it’s all happening at once in the world of my second release, Isla’s Oath. Here’s a summary in case you missed it…

Preorders are now available
(for everyone)

Isla’s Oath preorders for the ebook are now available from the following retailers: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

If you’re a Smashwords aficionado, the link is here. But they don’t do preorders; instead you can add the book to your preorder and I think view a sample? I confess I’m not 100% sure. (I expect the aficionados will know this already.)

Advanced Reader Copies are now available
(for book bloggers)

If you’re a book blogger, Isla’s Oath is now available for review on NetGalley. If you are going to request it and haven’t yet read the first book in the series, Isla’s Inheritance, contact me and I’ll get you a copy of that too.

Book blitz sign-ups are now available
(for bloggers)

Again, this is one for bloggers (for now!). The Isla’s Oath book blitz is running from 23–29 January (you may have guessed that from the fabulous banner above, courtesy of XPresso Book Tours!) — you can pick a day in that range to post. There will be excerpts and an interview provided, and perhaps other things if I get struck with inspiration. There’ll also be a grand giveaway of a $50 Amazon or B&N gift voucher.

Phew. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of Isla’s Oath, to celebrate!

“Ready?” Jack asked, standing beside me. He was wearing board shorts and a tank top, his feet bare on the sandy path. Blond hair stirred in the evening breeze, brushing his shoulders. He looked like any Australian male on holiday at the beach.

Except your average male didn’t have four-inch-long ears protruding from sun-bleached hair.

“I guess.” I took a deep breath, savouring the briny smell that evoked memories of vacations with my father. I picked my way down the path to the beach, sandals clicking against my heels as I stepped between the weathered log retainers. Jack followed. The plastic bag he was holding rustled.

When we reached the beach, I shook off my shoes and picked them up, hooking them over one finger. The sand was cool under my feet; the radiant heat of the hot February day had faded into a mild summer evening. “Where to?”

Jack pointed towards the worn, even stones scattered at the feet of the towering headland. The water pounded, working patiently to undermine the rocky bluff and send it crashing into the sea. A deep rock pool shimmered in the moonlight, connected to the ocean by a winding channel that surged and retracted with the tide.

We picked our way across the stones to the empty pool. I glanced at Jack. “This is the place,” he assured me.

I nodded, trying not to feel nervous. Jack seemed calm—his aura a uniform light blue, like a winter sky—and I resolved to emulate him. Or at least try.

I could have taken a sample of that light blue calm to help me relax, but I didn’t know how to do it without damaging him. That was, after all, why I was lurking on a beach on the south coast of New South Wales in the middle of the night.

One of the shadowy rocks in the pool moved, floating towards us. I jumped, staring. The shape drifted from the shadows into the moonlight, revealing it wasn’t a rock but a head, hairless and with tiny, round ears. Two solid black eyes opened wide, examining us for a long moment before their owner stood.

Water streamed off his naked body, splashing into the pool. His skin gleamed silvery blue and his chest was broad and flat, tapering to a narrow waist. He didn’t have a bellybutton. Mercifully, the water was opaque and reached the middle of his taut belly, so I didn’t have to avert my gaze from an ironclad confirmation of his sex.

“This is your half-breed master?” The creature spoke to Jack with a watery hiss, slow and deliberate.

Jack bristled. I stepped forward. “I’m Isla.”

Cover reveal: ‘Isla’s Oath’ (Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, #2)

I’m thrilled to be able to share the cover to Isla’s Oath, the sequel to Isla’s Inheritance. As with last time, thanks go to Kim Jacobs at Turquoise Morning Press for producing such a lovely cover. Mwah!

Also, once you’re done admiring the cover, I’ve got two bonus memes sitting there below it. Both of them have teaser quotes from the book. (Also, I’m hoping to have some exciting news for both Isla’s Oath and Isla’s Inheritance this weekend. Stay tuned!)


Genre: Young adult urban fantasy

Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press

Release date: 22 January 2014

Australia is a long way from the Old World and its fae denizens … but not far enough.

Isla is determined to understand her heritage and control her new abilities, but concealing them from those close to her proves difficult. Convincing the local fae she isn’t a threat despite her mixed blood is harder still. When the dazzling Everest arrives with a retinue of servants, Isla gets her first glimpse of why her mother’s people are hated … and feared.

But Isla isn’t the only one with something to hide. Someone she trusts is concealing a dangerous secret. She must seek the truth and stop Everest from killing to get what he wants: Isla’s oath.

Add on Goodreads




Book name reveal, teasers, and other goodies…

If you’re a regular around these parts of the blogosphere, you may have noticed I haven’t been posting as much as usual in the last week or so (although I did review The Jewel by Amy Ewing over at Aussie Owned a week and a bit ago). That’s because I’ve been a tad busy, and not just with the start of the silly season.

See, for some reason, someone (um, me) thought it was a good idea to have all three books in the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy come out in the space of just over six months.

So since Isla’s Inheritance came out, we’ve been going back and forth on the edits for Isla’s Oath. And the same week I sent back the galley proof on that, my editor sent me the first-round edits on the third book in the series.

“So, what is the name of the third book?” I hear you ask. “I don’t think you’ve mentioned it before.”

No, that’s right, I haven’t. Because it’s a tiny bit spoilery. Only a tiny bit, mind you. But I feel like it’s time to let the cat out of the bag. Wanna know what it is?

Melpomene’s Daughter

*flings confetti*

It’s the last book in the trilogy and although I love all my children equally (of course), it’s maybe a tiny bit more my favourite than the other two. Because I get to gather all the big plot threads, the major plot arcs of the series, and tie them into a bow. Or cut them with a knife. You know, whatever. 😉

Melpomene’s Daughter is scheduled for release on 23 April, and Isla’s Oath on 22 January. Mark those dates down in your calendar!

In the meantime, have you guys all seen my first teaser for Isla’s Oath? This is Everest. You can tell because I put his name on the teaser. I’m a graphic design genius!


If you haven’t yet read Isla’s Inheritance, here is a handy link to the Amazon page that I prepared earlier. If you have, please consider leaving a review. And if you’ve done that too, I love you more than words can say. ❤

‘Isla’s Oath’ excerpt (and other things)

Reviews tweetIt’s been just over a month since Isla’s Inheritance was released, and it’s received some lovely reviews, especially on Amazon and Goodreads. If you’ve left a review, I LOVE YOUR FACE! To say thank you, I’m going to share an excerpt from the start of the sequel, Isla’s Oath. Because I know Dominic has some fans out there. 😉

A couple of admin things first, though.

If you’re a book blogger and are looking for some young adult urban fantasy to review, Isla’s Inheritance is now on NetGalley.

Also, [INSERT OBLIGATORY LINK TO AMAZON PURCHASE PAGE HERE]. That’s for the ebook. There’s still no word on the paperback (I know a bunch of people are holding out for papery goodness). When I know, you’ll know.

Isla’s Oath is on track for its 22 January release date. I’m proofing the galley now (well, not right this second — but when I’m finished writing this!). Isla_Dominic

Disclaimer: this excerpt is from an unedited proof and may differ from the final, published version.

The others were halfway to the sand. I followed them down the dunes, trying not to look too hard at the rock pool, suspended high above the waterline due to the retreating tide. Empty. At least Mako wasn’t lurking in there, watching. My gaze drifted out to the vivid blue ocean. Was that a shape, out beyond the waves? A watching face? It vanished with the next swell, and I chided myself for paranoia. But I wasn’t sure—despite Jack’s reassuring words about the sirens’ oath—that I wanted to go into the water. Visions of sentient sharks flashed behind my eyes.

Ryan spread his towel high up the beach, placing his sketchbook carefully in the centre. He started a fresh one every year. The pages on this one still sat flat and didn’t have little smudges of lead on their edges from twelve months of handling.

Gazing at the rolling waves as though mesmerised, Sarah shed her tank top, shorts and shoes, placing them in a messy pile. Her emerald swimsuit stood out like a jewel in the bright sun, bringing out the flecks of green in her eyes. I hesitated, feeling my ears burn with embarrassment, before doing the same.

Dominic stared at me, eyes wide and mouth agape. I hid a smile behind my hand, pleased he didn’t give my taller cousin more than a passing glance. Scarlet flashed in his aura. Did it represent what I thought it did? I turned my face away to hide the blush that warmed my cheeks.

Sarah squirted a generous amount of sunscreen into her palm before offering the bottle to the rest of us. Ryan and I, with painful experience to urge us on, took similar portions and made sure we didn’t miss an inch of exposed skin—although Ryan was careful not to get too much on his fingers so he didn’t smear his sketchbook.

That was going to make for an uncomfortable sunburn if he wasn’t vigilant.

Dominic hesitated. He’d removed his T-shirt and thrown it down on the pile with the rest of our clothes. “I want to work on my tan a little.” His skin already gleamed golden brown.

“Don’t be an idiot,” Sarah said, one hand on her hip. “We’re not going to baby you if you get burned.”

“I won’t!” he protested, offended.

I squeezed some more sunscreen into my palm and, before Dominic guessed what I was about to do, splatted it onto his bare chest. He squeaked and drew a breath to object. When I started to rub the white lotion across his chest, he smiled and held his arms out. His skin was warm and smooth under my fingers. I glanced up; he was gazing down at me, eyes hot.

My stomach fluttered.

“Lucky bastard,” Ryan muttered.

‘Isla’s Oath’ blurbiness

YOU GUYS! Isla’s Oath, the second book in the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, now has its very own page on Goodreads. Feel free to go and add it to your “to read” shelf. You know, if you want to.

*stares at you*

The copy edits are back with TMP and the book is on track for a January 2015 release. Between now and then I get the super-giddy joy of another cover reveal too. I can’t wait to share this one with you!

Australia is a long way from the Old World and its fae denizens … but not far enough.

Isla is determined to understand her heritage and control her new abilities, but concealing them from those close to her proves difficult. Convincing the local fae she isn’t a threat despite her mixed blood is harder still. When the dazzling Everest arrives with a retinue of servants, Isla gets her first glimpse of why her mother’s people are hated … and feared.

But Isla isn’t the only one with something to hide. Someone she trusts is concealing a dangerous secret. She must seek the truth and stop Everest from killing to get what he wants: Isla’s oath.


Post-release buzz

IslasInheritance-CPage-MDThe last ten days — since Isla’s Inheritance was released into the wild — have been crazy good. I’ve been overwhelmed with support, especially from family and friends, but also from the writing community on Twitter. If you’re a writer just starting out, I strongly recommend getting on Twitter and tapping into the wonderful support network there. Look at the #amwriting hashtag as a place to start finding people.

The book tour ended yesterday and was really successful. (I can’t speak highly enough of Xpresso Book Tours if you’re organising some promotion.) Thank you to everyone that took part, whether it be by hosting or entering my giveaway!

I’ve tried to avoid turning into one of those crazy people that sits there refreshing Amazon to look at her book ranking, but I did notice (ahem) that on Amazon Australia Isla’s Inheritance cracked number 17 on the young adult sci-fi, fantasy and magic ebook charts the day after it released. I only grabbed screenshots the night before, though, when it was at #28:



Seeing it nestled in beside some big names gave me a big, cheesy grin — and I have all of YOU GUYS to thank for that!

If you’ve read the first book and are wondering when the sequel, Isla’s Oath, comes out, the answer is that it’s scheduled for release on 22 January 2015.

In the meantime, if you liked Isla’s Inheritance, I’d be grateful if you considered leaving a review at your reviewing site of choice — you know, if you wanna. 😉 You can leave reviews anywhere from Goodreads to Amazon, Barnes & Noble to the Turquoise Morning Press page. The links to the various pages are here.

No pressure. I love you either way.


I signed with Turquoise Morning Press. Again!

Loyal readers of my blog (ha!) will know that I always intended Isla’s Inheritance be the first book in a trilogy. There’s a three book arc, a meta-plot … and how cool is the phrase “meta-plot” anyway? I feel like I need to say it in this big, booming voice: “I have this plot, and it is meta.”

I’ve drafted the sequel to Isla’s Inheritance; it is in the beta-reading stages. Until last week I was calling the manuscript Book Two, because I am the queen of naming things and all shall bow before me. But when my amazing editor over at Turquoise Morning Press, Shelby, asked me for a synopsis for Book Two, I had to come up with a proper name. And a synopsis. Aaah! I wrote the latter, and then ran it past my Aussie Owned girls. Sharon suggested Isla’s Oath. For she is the true queen of naming things, and all shall bow before her.

Bow! *shakes fist*

Seriously, I’m pretty stoked with that. Isla’s Oath. It rolls off the tongue. (If you’re wondering, Isla is pronounced eye-la.)

I sent the synopsis to Shelby and then—be still my heart—she asked for a one-page pitch for the third book as well.


Now, book three is currently just a series of thought bubbles in my head. I have been working on a different project these last six months, because at the start of the year I’d had no joy in placing Isla’s Inheritance and, since I write so slowly, I didn’t want to spend almost a year working on the third book in a series that might never go anywhere.

Also, the plot bunnies were biting on this new idea. And you can never tell those plot bunnies anything.

But I wrote the pitch (with a working title that I’ll keep to myself for now). And THEY SAID YES!

That’s right, I now have a three-book deal with Turquoise Morning Press. I just, I can’t even … there are no words. (That’s not a problem for a writer, is it?)

The current plan is to release Isla’s Inheritance around the middle of next year, and then the subsequent two in gaps of up to six months after that. As that firms up I’ll let you guys know.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported me in this, especially my boyfriend, the evil genius, Peter; Chynna-Blue; and all of the Aussie Owned ladies. Also, to all of my friends on Twitter and Facebook, and everyone I’ve ever met. Also to people I haven’t met yet. Glomps to you all!