Friday 20 October 2017

My Blog is Shifting

No, not shifting like a werewolf (but maybe like a where-wolf).  I'm moving my blog's location to a page on my website.  So you can now find my blog at
Posts will be more frequent than they have been this last year (I've been a bit distracted by life and work on Starlight's Children) so be sure to check in regularly.
You can also sign up for my newsletter which will include sneak peeks stories in the Kalanon world.
See you there!

Sunday 1 January 2017

Things I Learned from My Kittens

Our household has expanded in the last couple of days. We now have two adorable black kittens in our family, named Apollo and Athena.  And much like the ancient gods they're named after, they have quickly adapted ways to boss their humans around.

Here are a few life lessons I've learned from my kittens:

If something's worth doing, do it with passion
Kittens don't do anything by halves.  They don't just jump, they pounce.  They don't just run, they rocket around the room like their tails are on fire.  Eat, sleep, play, fight, cuddle - everything they do they put their whole selves into it.  Whatever we do, if we give it all we've got, there's a much better chance of success. It might just be a toy mouse, but it should be attacked with ferocity until it's dead.

Listen to your body
Kittens do what their bodies tell them.  Eat when hungry, sleep when tired, drink when thirsty.  It's a smart way to be.

Be ready for opportunity 
When a door opens, kittens don't hesitate to run through it.  They see a chance for something they want and they'll take it.  Fast.  It means a lot of chasing from me in order to keep them out of mischief but it's a good reminder to seize the chances life offers us.
Be you
I've had a surprising number of people comment on the fact that we selected black cats because of the old superstition.  Now I don't believe black cats are bad luck because, well, that's stupid.  But apparently in this day and age there are still people who think it.  Do the kittens care?  Hell no.  They're their own adorable selves because the right people will love them for it.  It's the same for us.  There will always be someone who, for their own daft reasons, won't like you and, in the end, that doesn't matter.  Be you and the right people will love you.

Take care of your own crap
Sometimes we all make a mess.  Even kittens.  Especially kittens.  Messes are part of life.  But if you leave it laying around to cause trouble for others, they'll get annoyed with you pretty quickly.  So deal with it appropriately and ideally cover it up so it doesn't smell.

Let people know you like them
Life is too short to waste time hiding your affection and making people guess.  Kittens don't bother with those games.  If they like you, you'll know it.  They'll come see you, talk to you, and cuddle you.  Makes sense to spend time with those you like.

Explore new things
Everything is new to kittens and they want to explore it ALL.  New toys, new spaces, new experiences.  They explore everything and embrace the adventure. 

Have fun!
Most important for kittens is to have fun.  What's the point of life if you're not enjoying it?  They don't need big things to be happy - just an empty box or scrap of paper to play with is enough.  It's a good reminder for all of us to enjoy all the little things in life.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Christmas Present Suggestions

What kind of gifts should you get friends and family for Christmas?  Why BOOKS of course!
Here's a Christmas shopping guide to the books I've been involved in. For each one, I've included a suggestion for who to buy it for, what it's about, and a random point of interest. 
 They are available through your local bookstore, through Amazon, or by contacting me at
Enjoy!  And have a wonderful Christmas holiday!
Kalanon's Rising
Give it to: Yourself! You deserve a gift too!  Or anyone who enjoys fantasy and/or mystery.
It's about: Brannon is a war hero trying to live a new life as a physician but when a member of the royal family is ritually murdered, he and a strange team of experts must figure out what schemes are afoot before the war restarts and a magical hell breaks loose on their world.
Points of interest: This is the first adventure for Brannon and his team. There will be more.
Currents of Change
Give it to: Your mum, your sister, or anyone who likes a romantic story with a bit of mystery and paranormal suspense.
It's about:  When Sara takes refuge from an abusive relationship in her grandmother's childhood home, the last thing she expects is to find love with the single dad tradie next door or a ghost in the run-down house.  But there's more to her family history than she could have believed and this small town has secrets.
Points of interest: This book was given the Koru Award by the NZ Romance Writers Association
The Psychology Workbook for Writers
Give it to: The writer in your circle of family and friends. The one that dabbles in storytelling but never lets anyone read it.  The one that always says they have a book in them.
It's about:  Using psychology theories to help writers develop fully rounded and realistic characters in their fiction as well as add conflict to storylines. Each chapter covers a theory in easy to understand terms, cites examples from popular books and movies, and then contains worksheets to help use these theories your writing.
Points of interest:  Understanding how people tick is a great way to create interesting and realistic characters in fiction.
Baby Teeth: Bite-sized Tales of Terror
Give it to: The parents of that weird kid who you never really liked anyway.  Anyone who enjoys a seriously creepy story that will make the hairs on their neck stand up.
It's about: Inspired by the (hopefully!) unintentionally creepy things children say, this is a collection of short stories that take the creepy child idea and run with it.  The things that go bump in the night aren't always under the bed!
Points of interest: All proceeds from sales of this book donated to literacy charity, Duffy Books in Homes.
Shifting Worlds
Give it to: The friend who likes to look at facebook posts in the bathroom and you think should try something a little less Trump-focused.  Or anyone who likes a good story but doesn't have time for a full length novel.
It's about: Sixteen short stories that span the human experience of dealing with change - from a couple facing disability to drag queens fighting zombies, there's something for everyone in this collection.
Points of interest:  Many of the stories in this collection have won prizes or been nominated for awards in their own right before being brought together for this book.
The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales
Give it to: A child aged 8 to 12.  Or anyone who loves the joy of Christmas.
It's about:  Tales about Christmas with a wacky and/or New Zealand twist.  In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas generally isn't white.  And when it's a little bit twisty, it can be a whole lot of fun!
Points of interest: A portion of profits from this book are donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association to help with their work with those who have neuromuscular disease.
Beyond DNA: Stories of Challenge and Triumph
Give it to:  Anyone who likes inspiring true life stories.
It's about:  The real experiences of New Zealanders living with neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy, charcot marie tooth disease, and others.  What are the most challenging things about living in a body that is differently abled? How are those challenges overcome to create lives that are both wonderful and ordinary?
Points of interest:  All proceeds from this book go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association of NZ.

For more information on these books, check out my Amazon Page or 

Monday 5 December 2016

Fun Festivals, Armageddon, & the Joy of Paper

So normally I tend to focus on the e-book versions of my books, with the theory that that's where most of the sales happen these days.  Sure, some bookstores are stocking the paperbacks (please go to your local bookstore and ask them to get my books in!) and some libraries are too (please go to your local library and ask them to get my books in!) but mostly it's ebook sales on Amazon that I see in my sales reports.  There's a logic to that - ebooks are cheaper, and you can access them instantly.

BUT...over the last couple of months I've gone to events where the focus was on actual paperbacks and actual people face to face - the Armageddon Expo and the NZ Book Festival.  I'd almost forgotten how much joy there is in handling a proper paper book, feeling the cover, turning it over in your hands and reading the blurb on the back.  It was great to see people doing this with my books. 

Even better, seeing actual readers who enjoy my work and talking to them about what they love to read is SO MUCH FUN!  There are some amazing people around and even my strange little introverted self really enjoyed meeting them and sharing the enthusiasm for books. 

Once I'm finished with Starlight's Children (the second Agents of Kalanon book) I think I'll start looking out for other events I can attend.  In between writing the third one, of course.

So if you see me around, by all means come and say hi!  Get your book signed, and have a chat.  And if you decide to cosplay one of my characters, like the brilliant fan below, you will absolutely make my day!

Top: My stall at the NZ Book Festival
Middle: The SpecFicNZ stall at Armageddon
Below: A cosplayer as the goddess Ahpra, from the Agents of Kalanon series (note the tears where the goddess cried over her husband and brother and thus created the River Tilal)

Thursday 6 October 2016

Preview Kalanon's Rising

The first of the Agents of Kalanon mysteries is available for preorder.  Each book in the series features an action packed murder mystery in the fantasy world of Kalanon for Brannon and his team to solve.  Magic, murder, and mayhem, with a backdrop of a country recovering from war and a supernatural battle brewing.

Check out the first couple of chapters below:


he gas lamps on the street corners of Alapra cast deep shadows. Keldan Sandilar skulked in their darkness with a woman of dubious repute. He felt a kind of thrill across his skin as he moved through the back streets, that had little to do with the coolness of the night air. The son of a duke, mere steps from the Kalan throne, rarely had occasion to skulk. Here, in the capital, he had a lifestyle that could be publicly enjoyed. His name was a skeleton key for the highest echelons of society and there wasn’t a craftsman or trader who wouldn’t throw open their doors, day or night, for his convenience.
But tonight was for activities best kept in darkness.
“We really should have done this somewhere else,” he muttered, as they neared their destination. “They know me at the Rose.”
The floral fragrance from walled, scented gardens mixed with that of horse manure and lantern smoke. The sound of laughter and music spilled from up ahead and the full moon slipped from behind a cloud. Keldan’s footsteps sounded very loud on the familiar cobblestones. He was grateful, at least, that he had left the carriage some distance away.
His companion shrugged. “It was your choice, Your Highness. And a wise general fights on familiar ground, they say. Don’t worry, my employer is very discreet.” Her voice lowered to a throaty purr as she added, “And so am I.”
Keldan noticed the front of her cloak had parted and the cut of her bodice offered an inviting glimpse of bosom. He chuckled. “Thus far I have enjoyed our dealings very much. I’m sure that will continue.”
The Blue Rose came into sight ahead and Keldan’s steps quickened. The sooner they were in a private room, the better. The Rose was an elegant, stone and plaster, converted manor house built well before the war. A mosaic path led up to the wide double doors, through an outdoor dining area ringed by balustrades and climbing, steel-hued roses. The area was strung with colored lanterns, giving it a joyful air. There were few patrons outside this time of night, however. The main action was inside, where some of the best singers and dancers the city had to offer were regularly seen on the ballroom’s stage.
 He had almost reached the door when a tall, broad-shouldered figure stepped out into the light. Keldan recognized the man’s easy movement well before the familiar scar came into view. He gestured for his companion to move and tried to step aside before the King’s Champion saw him but, exposed as he was in the center of the mosaic path, there was nowhere to go.
“Prince Keldan.” The man known as Bloodhawk nodded in Keldan’s direction. “Good to see you. How’s your father?”
Keldan forced a smile and walked forward. Of all the timing! “Very well, Sir Brannon. You know Father—he’s a prize stallion. I can pass on your regards when I next see him.”
Brannon nodded. “I’d appreciate it. I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like these days. Nor you, in fact. Would you care to join me for a drink?”
Keldan wondered, as he often did seeing Sir Brannon’s simple clothes and military style haircut, how he managed to stay so well connected at court. The reality and the legend were strange bedfellows in this man. “Another time. I’m afraid I have business to attend to right now.”
The girl giggled at that, giving the perfect vapid impression. She’d arranged her cowled cloak so that the comely shape of her body was unmistakable beneath the fabric, but the details of her face were lost.
Brannon’s expression barely flickered. “Of course.” He inclined his head slightly to them both. “Enjoy the rest of your evening.”
“That could’ve been a disaster,” Keldan murmured as he guided the girl through the back corridors of the Blue Rose to the VIP area and then into the private room he’d booked. “The last thing I need tonight is for a war hero friend of my father to discover me making a deal with Nilarians.”
She pushed back her hood and flashed him a pretty smile as he closed the door behind them. “It’s just a meeting. To be honest, I think you’ll have to be an even shrewder businessman than your father to get a deal with my employer.”
Keldan felt his jaw tighten. He turned his focus to the room, allowing the tension in his body to ease.
It was a room he’d used many times before, decorated in his favorite sky-blue and deep mahogany. The fresco cherubs always made him smile to think of all they’d witnessed in that spacious, four-post bed. Today, there was a box on the scroll-worked writing desk in the corner.
“Yours?” he said as the girl stripped off her cloak and laid it across the bed. The gown underneath clung to her curves.
“My employer’s. I had it sent over earlier to make things easier for us.”
Keldan smiled. “Easy is good.”
Her full lips twitched upward. “It has its advantages. Shall I set up?”
He nodded, moving to the liquor cabinet. A decanter of his favorite wine had been set out and he poured himself a glass while the girl opened the box and laid its contents on the desk. A selection of fabric swatches, pots of pigment, a knife, and some brushes.
Keldan wondered if his father had ever seen the secrets of Nilarian silk. He doubted it. The old man was too bound up in the old enmity to have gotten so close. He was a shrewd businessman, all right, but Keldan’s own skills were nothing to be sniffed at and this extra, personal touch of showing interest in the details would secure the deal. He was certain of it.
He lifted the wine to his lips and savored the taste of successfully out-dealing his father. Delicious.
“I should go and fetch my employer now,” the girl said, turning away from the carefully arranged desk. She lowered her head a little and looked up at him, slyly. “Perhaps I could come back after the business is completed?”
Keldan chuckled softly. “You do that. I’ll be here all night.”
As the door closed behind her, Keldan wondered which outcome he was looking forward to more—the closing of the business deal or the return of the girl. Already he could feel his body reacting to the excitement of both. His stomach fluttered and his skin felt more sensitive, like a cool breeze was brushing through the room. His lips, especially, tingled as though from a phantom kiss.
He took a breath and shook it off. He wasn’t some nervous virgin at his first ball. He tugged at his sleeve, straightened his back, and considered how he would greet the Nilarian.
The tingling in his lips intensified.
Keldan frowned. He took a few steps toward the bed before the tingling began in his legs as well. His toe caught on the thick carpet and he fell, sprawled, face down on the bed.
The sensation spread up his thighs, and crippled his hands and forearms. His tongue felt like a handful of needles in his mouth. Then the tingling was replaced by a terrible numbness, swallowing his body’s ability to move, like a mouse down a cold, reptilian throat. He struggled against it and almost managed to pull himself up before his muscles gave out completely and he fell back on his face.
The world huddled close around him, pressing in with his fear. A shout for help produced only a weak sound, muffled by bedding. After that, it was an effort to draw in enough air just to stay conscious. Time was lost. There was nothing in existence but his own fast-beating heart and loud, rasping breaths.
A rivulet of sweat ran across the skin of his forehead, grazed the side of his temple, and slipped into his wide open eye with the sting of salt. The sensation penetrated his panicked mind: the numbness was wearing off. Perhaps the paralysis would too.
Relief almost deafened him to the sound of the opening door. Footsteps approached the bed.
“Ah,” said a voice. “I believe you’re almost ready.”
Keldan tried to respond but the paralysis had now completely taken his voice.
The footsteps moved over to the desk. “Here we are.” The scrape of the knife blade on the wood as the intruder picked it up was unmistakable. “Now, let’s have some fun.”

Chapter One

rannon was trying to not kill a man. It wasn’t easy. The hot sun pricked at his skin and he blinked salt from his eyes. The air smelled of dust and sweat and the tang of blood. Not a lot. Not like it once was. But there, nonetheless. This tiny battleground, circled with stone and law, was enough to remind him of things he’d rather forget.
The court building was one of the older structures in Alapra, grand with carved masonry and walls painted with historical murals. The magistrate and witnesses needed a clear outcome and, technically, that meant death. They huddled around the edges of the arena in their formal robes, waiting for the moment they could go back into the courtroom and approve the blood result in ink.
Brannon watched his opponent approach again, nose bloody, and pitched his voice so the magistrate wouldn’t hear it. “You can still back out of this, you know, Darnec. Plead guilty.”
The younger son of the Earl of Raldene had been caught stealing to pay for gambling debts and had chosen trial by combat rather than magistrate. He had the pride of his family name and the confidence of his youth egging him on. He almost had the skill to back it up, but not the experience.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” young Raldene sneered.
Brannon sighed. “Yeah, I would. But, hey, it’s your trial.” Over the younger man’s shoulder, Brannon could see Master Jordell and a small team of physicians. And an undertaker.
Darnec swung his sword and Brannon quickly moved to block it with his own. The clang echoed loudly in the arena. Brannon pushed his opponent’s sword aside with his blade, then twisted it to strike at Darnec’s shoulder. The young man was too quick, and slipped away before he could be cut.
“You’ve been taught well.” Another swing and block, followed by a lunge.
“I may not have fought in your war, Bloodhawk, but I know my way around a blade.” This time Darnec faked a move to the left, then swung for the jugular.
Brannon dodged, and his own sword snaked across the younger man’s thigh, sharp and fast. Red licked out from the blade’s bite. Brannon stepped back. “Imagine if you applied that discipline to the rest of your life.”
Darnec’s eyes stayed on Brannon. He shifted his weight, testing his wounded leg. “It’s a bit late for that now,” he said.
Brannon shrugged. “Perhaps.”
Darnec took a slow breath and the point of his sword drifted slightly downward. Then he took another. Brannon began to hope. The Earl of Raldene would be embarrassed to have a son sent to the mines for thievery, but when the sentence was done, he would still have his son.
“Perhaps not.” With those words, Darnec launched himself as if from a catapult, his sword aimed at Brannon’s heart.
Brannon turned his body and rammed forward his arm, blade vertical, pushing the thrust aside but it sliced his left arm, just below the shoulder. Blood and Tears! The boy was quick.
Or, he thought, I’ve gotten slow.
The fight was on in earnest now. Darnec was a demonic fury, intent on Brannon’s death. His sword thrust and swung again and again. Each time was intended a killing blow. Each time, it was blocked.
Years of battle experience gave Brannon a kind of detached calm when fighting. He could see where the blade was intended to go almost before it began to move. His muscles remembered even when he would rather not. He saw an opportunity in the younger man’s style and lashed out. His sword spiked Darnec’s thigh and pulled back. The muscle was damaged, but he had stayed clear of the artery.
Darnec screamed, but kept fighting.
The opportunity rose again. This time Brannon slashed across his opponent’s stomach, tearing through leather and cloth. Flesh and muscle parted, but not enough to expose entrails.
Darnec clutched at the wound with his left hand, his voice an animalistic sob as it came away covered in blood. He gripped the hilt of his sword with both hands and swung hard.
Brannon double-handed his own sword, bringing it up to meet head on. The arena rang with an awful crack and the younger man’s blade shattered against the Bloodhawk’s.
Darnec’s eyes widened. He stared at the stump of his sword and then at Brannon, his mouth open and wordless.
“Nilarian steel,” Brannon said, hefting his own blade. “I got this in that war you mentioned.” He turned to the magistrate. “I believe that satisfies the requirements of defeat.”
The robed figure shook his head. “Not yet, Champion.”
The sound of boots scuffing the dirt provided a warning. Brannon turned in time to see Darnec lurch toward him, the remnant of his sword outstretched.
“Oh, for Blood’s sake!” Brannon grabbed the boy’s wrist with his left hand and twisted his arm up and away, bringing his own sword up to skewer Darnec’s shoulder. Darnec screamed and his knees buckled. Brannon let go of his wrist and pulled his sword free, giving him a nudge so that he fell forward onto the ground. “Now?”
The magistrate nodded. “Now.”
Brannon turned and strode from the arena. He brushed past Master Jordell and into the medical annex. The old physician followed him in, green robes billowing at the shoulders.
“You’re angry.”
Brannon scowled. “I’m fine.”
Master Jordell chuckled, his face becoming even more wrinkled than usual beneath his mop of white hair. “Then I’d hate to see you irritated.” He gestured and a servant hurried forward. “Here, let this lad clean up your sword and you sit down with me a while.”
Blood dripped down the blade and onto Brannon’s fingers. “How can you expect me to mentor an apprentice physician when I can be called up to do this at any time?” he asked, handing over the sword.
The medical annex of the courthouse was set up to deal with the results of trial by combat. It was a requirement that both parties be assessed here after the fight. The room was divided by a long bench covered in bandages, needles and thread, scalpels and bone-saws. To either side of this was a mirror image of bed and hot bath.
Brannon walked across to one of the beds and sat down.
“The reason I expect it,” Master Jordell said, “is because it is part of what you have dedicated your last six years to.” He hooked a stool from the center bench and sat facing Brannon. “You’re a physician now, no matter what else you are, and physicians at your level are required to take an apprentice.”
Brannon snorted. “You don’t see the hypocrisy in my teaching anyone healing?”
Master Jordell’s eyes grew flinty. “No, I do not. Your role as King’s Champion did not stop you seeking physician training. Nor did your history as a war hero. I don’t see why they should become an impediment to you now.”
“But . . . ”
“No buts. Part of your training is to mentor others as I have mentored you. Just do your duty, Brannon, and stop behaving like a child!”
Brannon sat up sharply. “A child?”
Jordell’s face was impassive. “Clearly. You’ve only recently come to your new career. Thus, this is your second childhood. Some wait for senility, but you were always an overachiever.”
Brannon shook his head slowly, a chuckle low in his throat. “Now I see why you had that boy take my sword. Don’t you have something better to do than pester me? Seeing to the Pride of Raldene, perhaps?”
“He’s in good hands. Get out of that shirt and I’ll stitch your arm.”
As if summoned by their words, the other physicians entered the room, Darnec Raldene carried on a stretcher between them. The young man was pale and sweaty, but conscious.
“He’s losing a lot of blood,” Brannon muttered as they placed Darnec on the other bed. Two of them pressed wadded bandages over the leg and shoulder wounds while a young woman with a blond ponytail peered at the abdominal slash.
Master Jordell pushed him back with surprisingly strong hands when he tried to get up to take a closer look. “He’ll be fine.” The old man picked up a pair of scissors and Brannon knew better than to resist as his shirt was cut away from his still bleeding shoulder.
“You’re sure?”
Jordell pursed his lips and reached for a wet cloth and bowl to wash the cut. Across the room the blond woman was doing the same with the abdominal wound. “Yes, Sir Brannon, I’m sure. You were very precise. Nothing vital was hit and you know it. You sterilized your sword beforehand?”
Brannon felt his face flush. “Yes.”
Jordell shrugged. “There you go then—not even much chance of infection. You did all you could for the fool. Now, for goodness’ sake, lay back and try not to be one yourself!”
Brannon did as he was told and held still as his mentor pulled needle and thread through the cut on his shoulder, tugging the flesh gently back into place. He separated himself from the pain and let the detached part of his mind simply observe. He’d experienced Jordell’s stitching many times in the war. On so light a wound, he probably wouldn’t even be left with a scar.
Unlike his opponent. The blond haired girl was about to work on the stomach cut and, at her age, it was unlikely she was as deft as the Master.
“Jordell, why don’t you stitch the Raldene boy? That girl doesn’t look too experienced.”
The old physician didn’t even look up. “Jessamine? She’s perfectly adequate to the task. Better than most at her level.” He pulled the thread tight on the last stitch and cut the thread. “Actually, she’s even been requested by of some of the nobility—your friend, Duke Roydan, for example.”
Brannon sat up and flexed his arm a little, testing the stitches. “Really? Roydan?” He looked across and watched as the girl continued to work. She looked very young. “I’m surprised she’s high enough level for that.”
Jordell shrugged. “She’s not. But she’s very talented and he’s asked for her specifically.”
“Ah.” Brannon grinned. “He always did like a pretty face. She should be careful there.”
“Well then, it’s lucky she’ll have you to guide her.” Master Jordell beamed. “She’s your new apprentice.”
Brannon’s grin vanished. “What? No! It’s still a bad idea for me to have an apprentice.”
“Second childhood!” Jordell teased. Then his voice grew serious. “It’s not optional.”
Brannon sighed, the energy that had sustained him through the fight draining away in a rush. He covered his face with his hands and rubbed at his eyes. When he pulled them away, nothing had changed. “Fine.”
Master Jordell turned and called across the room. “Jessamine, let one of the others finish up, would you? I want to introduce you to your mentor.”
“Yes, Master Jordell.” The girl waited until one of her colleagues had taken the needle, then fairly bounced across the room. Up close, she looked even younger than Brannon had thought. Blue eyes peered at him from beneath a slightly too-long fringe of blond hair that had escaped the ponytail. Her small nose was kept company by a scattering of freckles to either side. Her pale lips were parted slightly in an open smile. “Sir Brannon,” she said, bobbing into an almost curtsey. “I’m so pleased to meet you.”
Brannon stifled another sigh. She was going to be difficult to keep track of. Roydan wasn’t the only man in court to like a pretty face. “I’m pleased to meet you too, Jessamine,” he said. “I’m told you’re ready to apprentice. How old are you?”
“I’m twenty-two, sir.”
Brannon turned to Jordell, an eyebrow raised. “Really? A twenty-two-year-old? My raw recruit days are well behind me.”
“It’ll do you good,” Master Jordell said. “Anyway, the girl can’t help her age. You went to war younger than that.”
“True. I’m not sure when it started looking so young though.”
Jordell snorted. “Wait until you’re my age!”
“No thanks.” He turned back to the girl, who had watched the exchange with her head tilted to one side. “My apologies, Jessamine. I’m a little out of sorts today. Apparently you’re very skilled already, so I’m sure you’ll do fine. Even if I’m not sure what you’ll learn from me at court.”
She straightened up with a smile. “No problem, sir. I hope you don’t mind that I asked to be matched with you. When I heard the famous Bloodhawk needed a physician’s apprentice—”
Brannon held up a hand to stop her. “Do you want to be a physician or a soldier?”
“A physician, of course.”
“Then don’t talk to me about Bloodhawk. And stop calling me ‘sir.’ Brannon is fine.” He stood up and pulled what was left of his shirt around him. The top of her head barely reached his chin. “Now, tell me about your patient.”
“Well, he’ll need some time to heal and we’ll have to work his arm to get full movement back to his shoulder, but, for the losing side of a trial by combat, he’s in remarkably good shape,” Jessamine said, leading the way back to where Darnec Raldene lay, now sleeping thanks to an application of fumes. “Although he must be very skilled because he managed to cut the King’s Champion and people say that’s only happened once before.”
Brannon studied Darnec’s wounds. The thigh damage was minimal. The skewered shoulder had two physicians working on it still. The abdominal cut was stitched surprisingly well, a red belt across his middle with black notches all the way across. “Good work. Put the stitches a little closer together next time, but good.” He looked up at her and pointed to the scar on his own cheek. “And if you really believe I got through the entire war with only one scratch, you’re an idiot.”
Jessamine grinned. “No. But I have to admit, the legend of it is appealing.”
Brannon rolled his eyes. “Appealing to idiots. But there may be hope for you yet.”
She gave her little curtsey-bob again. “I hope so.”
“Sir Brannon Kesh!” A voice sounded loudly from the doorway where a messenger in full court livery waited for an answer.
“The king has sent for you. Something’s happened to his cousin.”

To continue reading, click here

Saturday 10 September 2016

Granted - Thank you SpecFicNZ!

You may have asked yourself (if you've been following my career and are exceptionally astute), "What happened to that prize winning novel manuscript, Agents of Kalanon?"
For those who aren't aware of it, Agents of Kalanon won first prize in an unpublished novel manuscript competition run by SpecFicNZ a few years back.  It's a murder mystery in a fantasy world recovering from war and where things are not always as they seem.
I'm thrilled to say that the book, now titled "Kalanon's Rising" will be released very soon thanks to a financial grant from SpecFicNZ and will be the first in a series of adventures for these characters.

Want to stay ahead of the Agents of Kalanon news?  Sign up to my newsletter.  The next issue will include a sneak peek at the cover and also a free preview sample.  Don't miss out!

Thursday 1 September 2016

Currents of Change Wins Two Awards
I'm thrilled and grateful to say Currents of Change has won two Koru Awards!  One for Best First Novel, and one for the Best Short and Sweet category.  I'm on cloud 9 and don't plan on coming down any time soon.  Look at the pretty trophies! 
The Korus are given out by RWNZ to recognize excellence in published books from the previous year.  There was some hot competition and a lot of talented authors so I was pretty much just enjoying the awards dinner without any real expectations so to win both categories my book was eligible for just blew my mind.
A huge thank you to RWNZ for running these awards.
If you'd like to check out the other winners and fabulous finalists, you can see a list of results here.
Or, of course, if you'd like to read Currents of Change, you can get a copy from Amazon or ask at your local bookstore.

(As an aside, I know I haven't posted in this blog for a while but there is some exciting news coming.  Sign up to my mailing list to make sure you don't miss out!)