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Clan Destine Press
KERRY GREENWOOD RC DANIELLS DAVID GREAGG PATRICIA BERNARD NARRELLE M HARRIS ANJELO RATNACHANDRA A.K. WROX ALISON GOODMAN LINDY CAMERON VIKKI PETRAITIS SANDY CURTIS JANE ROUTLEY
SISTERS IN CRIME AUSTRALIA
4 10 14 18 22 25 30 36 39 42 46 50
THE DELPHIC WOMEN TRILOGY:
MEDEA ~ CASSANDRA ~ ELECTRA OUT OF THE BLACK LAND
[CREATOR OF THE PHRYNE FISHER CORINNA CHAPMAN MYSTERIES]
grew up with the sounds of other languages swirling around my youthful ears. Other words, other intonations, different stresses, different meanings. I found it fascinating that you could have words which meant the same, in translation, but bore different meanings, like calling someone a cow in Arabic or in French. One is a compliment, one is an insult. But my love affair with history probably began when I was f ive and standing outside the Geelong Road State School, holding my mother’s hand, on a hot summer’s day. I was very uneasy and really, really wanting to go home, where there were no big rough children chasing each other and yelling and hitting each other. A boy fell over on that heartless asphalt playground and skinned his knee and there was blood. I was horrified. Also I was wearing a hand-me-down yellow dress, out of which an orangeade stain had never washed, and I felt unsightly. I was so small that I was viewing this Breughal scene through a forest of hems and knees. Then I bruised my nose on a straw shopping bag and was trying not to cry when I felt that I was being watched. Just at my eye level was a small girl; my height. She had a home-made bowl haircut, deep brown beautiful eyes, and a velveteen purple dress with orange skyrockets on it. It was even uglier than mine. Those eyes told me she was feeling exactly what I was feeling and I knew in an instant that she was my friend. I put out my hand. She put out hers. Her name was Themmy – and she is still my best friend.
But she didn’t speak English then, so I had to learn Greek to talk to her; which I did badly, because she wanted to speak English as fast as possible. But I began to pick out the Greek words in English and suddenly language possessed me. Xenos meant stranger, as in xenophobia; zoo meant animal, as in zoological gardens: poli meant many (and polis meant town); while demos as in democracy meant a community of people. I became drunk on words and have stayed intoxicated ever since. And Greece, of course, was the source of ancient stories. I heard them told as though they had happened in the next village: “There was the daughter of a king, and she was called Electra, because of her amber eyes…” Then I read them in Charles Kingsley’s The Heroes. I borrowed books on archaeology from the library. I was enthralled by a civilisation so complete, so beautiful, so old. I read everything I could lay my hands on. I read Henry Treece and Geoffrey Trease and Rosemary Sutcliff. I wondered, I dreamed, I walked the streets of Ancient Greece, buying a cup of hot spiced wine and listening to the debates in the market place, or couched amongst the asphodel with my goats, chewing a straw and gazing at the Archaic sky. Whenever I didn’t like the present I would retreat to the past. I had an arrangement with the lady who ran the local op shop. I would arrive there at 9am on Saturday, when she opened, and I was allowed to sit on the floor and read as many books as I could until she shut at noon. I only had 10 cents pocket money, enough for one book, and she would let me bring it back and swap it next week if I didn’t like it. I have never forgotten her kindness. But one week, when I was 11 years old, instead of rushing in, plonking myself down and reading voraciously, book after book, I picked up Herodotus’ Histories (translated by Aubrey de Selicourt) and started to read. And I was hooked, addicted, trapped and snared. On the first page was an account of the kidnapping by Phoenicians of Io, daughter of Inarchus, off the beach in Argos, which started the Persian war. This was a whole book, written in ancient times (450-420 BC) that was stuffed with stories. When the shop closed I bought it. I still have it. Herodotus has never failed me. Many years later I took him to Egypt with
me – or rather, I took him back to Egypt; and he was as good a travel guide as Lonely Planet. (Just as Pausanius was right about which Corinthian villages had lice; and Marco Polo was still accurate when I was in China.) Herodotus wrote about the last stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae in a way which still reduces me to tears, because it is not triumphalist or war loving but just factual. They fought in a way which will not be forgotten. Here they resisted to the last, with their swords, while they had them, and then with their hands and their teeth, until the Persians, coming on them from behind, finally overwhelmed them. Their epitaph is: Go tell the Spartans, passer-by That here, obedient to their laws, we lie. It took me a long time to realise that this is not a complaint. They’re boasting. The minds of the Spartans were a long way from mine and therein lies the fascination of historical writing. I cannot, being born in the 20th century, duplicate the mind of someone born 2000 years ago. But I have to try... My Italian fellow pupils, amused by my very clumsy Calabrese and sketchy Siciliani, told me about the glories of Ancient Rome and the fact that Latin was the base for French and Spanish (but not Greek). I was learning French at school and found again the similar words: feneter and fenetre; table and tavolo; terre and terra. So I then plunged again into everything I could find about Rome, so different from Greece. And there was so much of it, always more to read. I dived and swam like a dolphin through strange seas of Plautus and Hesiod and Juvenal and Lucan. First Greece and Rome, and then everywhere else, as I discovered books on other ancient civilisations. Worlds full of fascinating things: Bronze Age cups and Iron Age wheelhouses; rings of ancient bluestone dragged from Wales; step pyramids with blood running down the stairs; warriors in jaguar skins with blue feathered crowns, lost worlds hacked from clinging vines or uncovered under shifting sands. Kerry and a new history book: a picture of bliss. So when I started writing novels I wrote about the past. I wrote my first book when I was 16. It was a fantasy, because I loved fantasy and fairy stories; another way of not being here and now. But then, when I began in earnest – desperate for a distraction from studying law at Melbourne University (I wanted to be a lawyer to help my own people but a lot of Law is mind-bogglingly tedious) – I wrote a series
of novels about a highwayman in St Albans (England) in 1840. I was inspired by Legal History research into the number of people who were actually executed in England. I had all the original documents in facsimile in the Baillieu. I had also a wonderful, inspirational professor, Dr Ruth Campbell, who told me always to read the original documents. “Never trust historians, especially me,” she said. So I did as she told me, and read the newspapers for 1928, which was not wasted, because it was the inspiration for my Phryne Fisher books. But I never lost my love of the ancient world and finally, being young and fizzing with stories, I wrote a book about Cassandra, daughter of the Trojan King Priam, and priestess of Apollo, who prophesied the fall of Troy but was not believed. I researched it as carefully as I could. I re-read all the ancient authors. It took me a year. Then I asked about for an academic who would launch it, and the semi-divine Dennis Pryor not only read but approved of it. And then, cruel fate, he became my source of last resort. I recall the night, when writing Medea, that I could not remember the Ancient Greek word for snake. Icthys – fish, yes. But snake, no. So I just rang Dennis despite the hour – around 3am – and asked him. He said, Ophis. I said, ‘of course’… and, I believe, simply hung up on the poor man. He forgave me. I later asked how he knew it was me and he said, quite reasonably, that I was the only person of his wide acquaintance who would ring at such an hour with such an enquiry. They wouldn’t let me do Classics at Melbourne for some bureacratic reason so my Latin is very poor. Dennis was a consummate Latinist; and Juvenal was his main man. Dennis taught Latin to almost everyone. He would start his first lesson by having them decline coca-cola (cocam colam, cocae colae...) Also he was a darling. His generosity and his tolerance of my insane theories was inexhaustible. He even offered to translate the Orphic Hymns for me, provided I promised not to get involved in the scholarly arguments about Orphism, which are labyrinthine. I promised. He translated. It was Dennis who taught me that all translation is betrayal. We have to do the best we can... and I have always tried to do so.
I wrote Electra out of curiosity about the original revenge drama. I wrote Medea because I was shocked that ‘everyone’ knew that she had killed her own children – despite that being one of several stories about the fate of her children – and because I could find no modern Medea, amongst female murderers. Women do not kill their children to stop the husband having them. They kill them for other reasons. I wrote a book about real-life female murderers. Medea did not match. So I wrote about her to find out what had happened. I drew on my knowledge of remnant migrant populations for the people of Colchis; and on archaeological discoveries of females buried with weapons made for their hands; made for the Scyths/Amazons, also mentioned by my beloved friend Herodotus in his Histories. Ancient Egypt was easier to research than either Greece or Rome, because so much more of it is still extant; including the Ancient Egyptians themselves, in mummified form. But there are always things that either no historian agrees upon, or that they leave out. Filling those voids for my Egypt book, Out of the Black Land, took me a year’s work and a visit to Egypt itself. I found myself at odds with what everyone thinks about Akhnaten; but that wasn’t unusual. And I’m not an academic, so I didn’t mind. I love the past. I always feel so safe there. That’s why I write historical novels.
by Kerry Greenwood
coming June 2012
Electra, book 3 in the Delphic Women trilogy, coming November 2012
by Kerry Greenwood
Medea: Sorceress, Princess of Colchis, Securer of the Golden Fleece.
Her very name is a byword for infamy. Legend has it that she murdered her own children for revenge. But love in Ancient Greece was often a dangerous game; and legends are not always what they seem. Medea, devoted wife of Jason, was also a loving mother, a loyal friend of Herakles and a brave adventurer with the Argonauts. A woman both betrayer and betrayed, the real story of Medea is strange, sensual and heroic. Medea, first in the Delphic Women trilogy, will be followed by Cassandra and Electra.
ISBN: PAPERBACK RRP
Out of the Black Land
by Kerry Greenwood
978-0-9807900-3-0 $29.95 available now
Egypt in the 18th Dynasty is peaceful and prosperous until the newly-renamed Pharaoh Akhnaten – not content with his own devot ion to one god alone – plans to suppress the worship of all other gods in the Black Land. Ptah-hotep, a peasant boy studying to be a scribe, wants to live a simple life in a Nile hut with his lover Kheperren, but young Akhnaten appoints him Great Royal Scribe. Child-princess Mutnodjme sees her beautiful sister Nefertit i married off to the impotent Akhnaten. As she must still bear royal children, a shocking plan is devised. Kheperren, meanwhile, serves as scribe to the daring teenaged General Horemheb. But while the shrinking Egyptian army guards the Land of the Nile from enemies on every border, a far greater menace impends. Akhnaten’s horrified court soon realise that the Pharaoh is not merely deformed, but irretrievably mad; and that the biggest danger to the Empire is in the royal palace itself.
ISBN: PAPERBACK RRP
978-0-9807900-0-9 $29.95 available now
Artwork for Out of the Black Land, Medea & Cassandra by Ran Valerhon.
R C DANIELLS
THE PRICE OF FAME
[CREATOR OF THE: LAST T’EN TRILOGY KING ROLEN’S KIN THE O UTCAST CHRONICLES]
The long wait for overnight fame
y latest book – and my first paranormal crime – has been a long time in gestation. The original part of the story was written 30 years ago when Punk Rock was new and cutting edge. I was 23 years old and had no idea if I could write; I knew only that I had to. A marriage, six kids, approx 30 published children’s books, an awardwinning fantasy trilogy, a bestselling fantasy trilogy, and a Masters in Arts Research... and now, finally, one of the first books I ever wrote is seeing the light of day. Why did it take so long? The original story is set in St Kilda and is based on the adventures of a friend of mine who drove taxis; plus the dramas of a punk rock band that lived downstairs from me. Of course, this was the leaping off point and from there my imagination took over. I wrote the Guinevere and O’Toole story line and I felt it was a satisfying story. But I was only 23, I figured I didn’t have enough life experience to write something really good, so I put the book away for a dozen years. When I was 36 and had six children under 10, I came across the Harper Collins $10,000 Fiction Prize and thought why not enter my book. I pulled the manuscript out, cleaned up a sentence or two and sent it off. I was over the moon when it made the long, short list. But it didn’t win and I was really busy with life and only just getting back into writing. And, because of my young children, I concentrated on writing kids books for a while.
In my forties I came up with a way to update the manuscript by introducing a second time line. I created a contemporary narrative thread, which tied into the story set in the Eighties. So with my publishing record at the time, why didn’t it get published then? Publishers often prefer writers to write in just one genre, or even only one kind of fantasy book, if they are a fantasy writer. My publishers weren’t interested in me doing anything outside the fantasy genre. But I read across genres. I will follow a writer across genres. In fact, if I find a writer I admire, I’ll read everything they’ve had published. I’ve always been a voracious reader of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery. I loved Laurell K Hamilton’s early Anita Blake books. I’m a big fan of Simon Green’s Nightside series and who doesn’t love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books? I don’t see why you can’t write a book that contains the elements of paranormal, with gritty realism and quirky fun. With The Price of Fame I set out to deliver a convincing mystery, with vivid characters and a paranormal, spine-tingling edge. I just had to find a publisher who was willing to take a punt on paranormal crime set in Melbourne. Enter the new independent publishing house Clan Destine Press. What’s nice about this book being accepted by Clan Destine Press is that the publisher, Lindy Cameron, is an award-winning crime author in her own right. This means my book has met her high standards. It’s always particularly nice as a writer to have a fellow author say they like your book because, like an architect, they can see the framework holding up the story. To differentiate this book from my fantasy books I discussed using a different name and decided to publish as RC Daniells as opposed to Rowena Cory Daniells. This way readers who like my books can find both the fantasy and the paranormal crime. I figure if I read across genres, then they probably do too. A book’s cover is really important. Since both my husband and I have worked as graphic artists illustrating books and doing covers, we asked
Lindy if we could have a go at the cover of The Price of Fame. I wrote up a brief for my husband, where I talked about the feel of the book, the main character in the contemporary story line and her connection to the girl, Guinevere, from the original story. My husband put a rough together and Lindy loved it. With a bit of tweaking we came up with a final version. And yes, there is a cat in the story. So there you have it; a book 30 years in the making. I guess what I’m saying is that perseverance is a creative person’s greatest asset. Looking back, there was nothing wrong with the book I wrote at 23. The original story is still there embedded in the contemporary narrative with a couple of phrases rewritten. I could have given up and never written again, or given up on this story but I didn’t. I thought there was something worthwhile in the book and, 30 years later, thanks to Clan Destine Press this book will reach readers. So you can see why the publication of The Price of Fame is particularly satisfying for me. I hope you enjoy my book.
Rowena’s three fantasy series are:
*** The Outcast Chronicles (2012) is a story of persecution and betrayal. If there were people with magical abilities, mystics, living alongside us, how would we feel about them? You only have to look at the way people who are different are treated in the real world to see. The persecution culminates in a siege of the mystics’ city and follows the myst ics as they try to make a new home. The story explores themes of trust and tolerance. ** King Rolen’s Kin (trilogy - 2011) is a rollicking fantasy tale. There’s an invasion, battles, monsters, betrayal, pirates and unrequited love. It explores the question of friendship and brotherhood, and how far you would go to protect a friend. There’s a second trilogy being written, which the publishers want me to submit as soon as possible. *The Last T’En Trilogy (2000-2002) is a fantasy with a love story at its core. Instead of writing about the great battle and how the good guys defeat the invaders, I wrote about what happens after the battle. The last female of the royal family gets married off to the invader to cement their right to rule. The story explores the clash of cultures - she’s from a society where women are powerful, he’s from a patriarchy. The underlying theme is learning to trust those who are different.
Price of Fame
by R.C Daniells
Where will Antonia’s search for truth lead and who will suffer? When film and TV graduate, Antonia Carlyle, sets out to make a documentary about eighties band, ‘The Tough Romantics’, she uncovers new facts surrounding the death of singer song-writer, Genevieve. This leads her to suspect that the man arrested for her murder was not the killer. One of the three surviving band members believes it is time to settle old ghosts but the other two have gone on to forge solo careers and don’t want Antonia to rake up the past. One of them knows who the killer is, the other needs to hide their guilt. A growing psychic link with the dead girl and the conviction that justice must be done, drives Antonia to face her own demons, uncover the past and confront the present.
The Price of Fame
coming May 2012
DOUGAL’S DIARY WHEN WE WERE KITTENS
The subject interviews his biographer
Interview with Man, by Dougal
D: M: D: M: D: M: Hello Man. How are you today? Very well thank you. This seems a bit odd to me, interviewing you for a change. Well, fair’s fair. And what would my beautiful cat want to know today? Tell me about the other cats who used to live here. There have been so many. Don’t look like that, Dougal! We’ve lived a very long time and we needed other cats before you and Shadow turned up. There was Mu, who was a bit like you, only she was a Mum. She ran like you do. You’re rocking-horse cats. I am not a rocking horse cat! Yes you are. You run with your front paws together and your back paws together. It means you can run very fast, even faster than your sister, who just hurls herself forwards and her paws try to catch up with her. Shadow is fast, but not as quick as you. Mu was our First Cat and she was adorable, though cross; a bit like Belladonna. Mu was Tigger’s Mum. Both of them were stripy cats. And then Tigger had a daughter called Bootle and she was a tortoiseshell. She used to jump on spiders and crush them. She also liked to bring in birds from the tree and hide them under things. You won’t let us do that, I notice! They were sparrows. And she really didn’t hurt them. She’d just leave them under the bookshelves to play with. We didn’t have wattle-birds
then, and if we had she couldn’t have done that with them because they’d have hurt her badly; and we couldn’t have that. She brought home a tortoise once. D: What is a tortoise? M: Imagine a big lizard who lives inside a really hard-crust pastry. That’s a tortoise. D: I think you’re having me on. M: I’m not. Your sister will have seen some on Animal Planet, I expect. D: Is that all those cats and dogs on TV? M: Yes. Shadow can watch it for hours. You’ve seen her. D: Until the dogs come on. M: And she changes the channel. D: I would love to know how she does that. Who else was there? M: Then we had Ashe and Horatio, who were the cats who drove away the Bad Cats like you do. And we had Kari, who’d jump through the car window and sit on my shoulder when I drove places. D: I find that very hard to believe. You put me in the car once and I howled all the way there and all the way back. M: I know, you poor little cat. You thought I was taking you back to the Bad Place with the cages, so I’m not surprised you were upset. D: You wouldn’t do that to me, would you? M: Never. You are staying right here for as long as you want to. D: Why do YOU keep going away? You know we get upset when you do that. M: Sometimes it’s because Woman and I need to go away. We’d love to take all of you with us but it’s such a long drive in the car that you would find it too awful to bear. And I can’t drive properly with three cats yowling the roof down and complaining all the time. It just wouldn’t work. And you get Man With Not Much Fur On His Head to stay and he looks after you. Also, some of the places I go are not good places for cats. You might run away and how would you get home then? I know you’d find a way home eventually but I’d wear my own paws out looking for you. Believe me, it’s better this way. D: You would come looking for me if I got lost, wouldn’t you? M: Of course. But that’s partly why I take you and Shadow for walks, so if you do get lost when you wander off by yourselves you can find your way home. D: So tell me why you spend so much time at your Picture Boxes. M: It’s what humans do, Dougal. It’s called Work and lots of humans do it so they can bring home food for their cats. I used to go away to do it but now
D: M: D: M: D: M:
M: D: M: D: M: D:
I am lucky enough to work at home so I have my beautiful cats keeping me company. I like it better this way. So do I. But you also talk to other humans on your Picture Box, don’t you? Yes. I know a lot of humans and it would take forever to see them all. So we talk to them on our Picture Boxes. So tell me about making the phone ring and the Talking Box. The Talking Box? Oh, the answering machine. That’s where I’ve left a message, to ask people to leave us a message if we’re not here. Ah. Or if you’re in the garden. I’ve noticed that sometimes your voice is in the Box, but you’re outside. Or in the bath. So it’s you, but not really you. Yes. But, when I talk to you and Woman on the phone, it really IS me but I’m a long way away. You would not believe how big the world is. When I went away for a really long time it would have taken me longer than you’ve been alive to walk home and say, Hello Dougal. So I rang you instead. What’s with the Big Box of Metal Stuff and the sticks? That’s my suit of armour. When I take it with me when I go away it means I’m going to put it on and play with other humans. We hit each other with the sticks. But the armour means we don’t get hurt much because it’s play fighting. Like you and Shadow do. Do any other humans take their cats for walks like we do? Some do, but it’s not very common. I have taught you and Shadow to be very good around cars now. I’m proud of you. But other cats are not good around cars. It scares me that they might get squashed. It scares me too. I hope Red Cat Two doesn’t get squashed, even though he’s as silly as a wheel. We don’t understand why humans need so many toys. Would you like to comment on this at all? It’s a human thing. I have some I have to play with when I’m out. Like your armour and sticks? Yes and my recorders. I had to stop playing them at home because cats kept stuffing their noses in the other end wanting to stop the funny noises. It’s a cat thing. So how’s our new book coming along? And why are you calling it When We Were Kittens? You and Shadow are always talking about when you were kittens so I thought it would make a good title. And it’s finished. Well, OK then. Thank you for your time, Man. Oh, one more thing. Could you possibly write up my notes? I tried using your laptop but it just came out as paw-prints. I can’t manage the touch-pad for some reason, and Shadow kept sitting on it because it’s so warm. It would be my pleasure, Dougal.
When We Were Kittens
by David Greagg The continuing adventures of Dougal the Giant Kitten and his foster-sister. Dougal and Shadow are still living with Man, Woman and Belladonna – the Senior Cat and boss of the house – but the pair are now, mostly, all grown up. Life is seldom boring as Dougal tackles new escapades and figures things out, like how his sister has been taking Assertiveness Training from Belladonna. The young cats make a truce with the Wattle-birds ISBN: 978-0-9872717-1-6 and Crows! in their garden; but find the dogs in the coming April 2012 street are noisy and stupid. As Dougal negotiates his position in the adult world, RRP $18 emotional reassurance, revelations and even help comes from a surprising source. But then – woe! – Man goes away for a Long Time and the poor boy is just sad and lonely. Will Man come home? Does Shadow love him, even though she still eats his food? And if Man does come home again, will they all still go for walks at night?
by David Greagg After some traumatic early life experiences, Dougal the black-and-white kitten falls on his paws into a loving home with two kind humans. Dougal decides to repay his humans’ kindness by trying to be a Good Cat at all times. But when you have a little sister like Shadow, being good isn’t as easy as it should be; because Shadow is an alley-cat who eats his food and loves stealing from neighbours’ barbecues. And, although they don’t know it, the kind humans are not in charge in this house. That role goes to the imperious old cat Belladonna, who does not take kindly to newcomers in her space. Dougal’s diplomatic skills will be tested as he tries to make sense of human and feline psychology.
LEGEND OF THE THREE MOONS
* THE THROWBACK TRILOGY: THE THROWBACK, THE PUNISHER, & THE RULE CHANGER
Myths, mysteries and lots of adventure
ince childhood when my third grade teacher read to our class about Hercules, the Argonauts, that race that was always won by that heartless princess who only lost to Theseus when she stopped to pick up the golden apples, and Atlas with the world on his shoulders, I have adored story telling. Fantasy, mythology and historical novels are my favourites, but that doesn’t mean I can’t spice up my own stories with a mystery, murder or loads of adventure. I even wrote a travel book about India with those ingredients. But deep down the imaginative worlds in fantasy, speculative fiction and paranormal are the most fun for me to write. And when I say write, I mean live within the story for twelve months at a time. And when I say live, I mean become each character, wear each outfit, say each line of dialogue and do each action, especially the romance and the fight scenes. Legend of the Three Moons came about during a babysitting job I had with five children (two girls and three boys). Fearful of the damage they would do to my new red sofas I took them off to Sydney’s Centennial Park. There I handed each of them a stick and told them to invent a weapon of their choice, choose a pet animal or bird to travel with them, make up at least one monstrous creature to do battle with, and a magical gift that would change them and allow them to do unusual things whilst on an adventure into a world that we would plot and name that very day. From the game we played that afternoon – as we slashed away at the
park’s bamboo with our imaginary broad swords, stabbed the heaving earth with our long swords, and shot horrendous creatures with our arrows – was born the mighty, adventurous Legend of the Thee Moons. I used the children’s names and physical descriptions (as thanks for their efforts that day), and began drawing maps of my countries and plotting my chapters. My readers – many readers – love maps and I love drawing them; so most of my kids’ and YA books have maps in the front. I also love quest stories where the heroes get into the plot, get their feet dirty, maybe fall off a cliff or two, battle against gigantic odds and then somehow, miraculously – but only in the very last chapter – survive, conquer and win. I also love creating odd characters, nice or nasty, that the reader can fall in love with. Hannah the Hangwoman is just one of mine and I can see her as clearly as if she were standing behind me as I type. She’s over 6ft tall (doesn’t sound as good in metric) is swarthy and has three chins, an untidy topknot of bright red hair and muscles a weight-lifter would envy. She’s also incredibly smelly (bathing not being her favourite occupation); wears a blanket as a skirt; boots, untied to fit her fat feet; and a huge man’s coat buttoned across her large belly. She carries a backpack with saucepans, an axe and hangman’s noose. But there is more to Hanging Hannah than what meets the eye. She doesn’t eat. And as fantasy readers know, there has to be a very good reason for a very fat woman not to eat. And I mean ever.
Then there is sly-eyed, twelve-fingered Jessup Birdsnest, an accomplished pick-pocket, collector and purveyor of odd and unusual objects such as magician’s shadows and invisible bird feathers. Jessup Birdsnest, of the long black cloak and wide-brimmed pointed hat comes from Belem an island city down on its luck since being attacked. I love making up characters whose wriggling fingers dipping into pockets bring a chill; whose offer of an apprenticeship to be a hang child can frighten; or whose kindness – like that of San Jaagiin of the bird shop of Belem, or Verv
Roliat the one legged tailor, or Edith the Oracle who lives in a cemetery with her ghost dogs – stays with my readers all their lives. When I sent off the first three chapters of Legend of the Three Moons to Clan Destine Press I was about to set off on a two-month journey around Turkey and Greece; all the time collecting ideas for the next book. After Europe I was to fly to the Romance Writers Conference in New York, because my next YA book is a paranormal romance/horrendously scary adventure. Somewhere in Turkey, probably just after I had my first bathhouse-withmassage experience, I received an email from the CDP publisher and her response to those first three chapters was so lovely that I carried around a warm glow for the next month. On arriving back in Sydney I did a final (who are we kidding) edit. Now I don’t know if it is the same for other writers, but I have a completely unrealistic idea of how long editing takes. It takes ages! Forever! It is a slow process! People interrupt you all the time! Finally – and after it had been read by one, just one, of those original kids (how quickly their interest fades at that age) – I sent it off and joy, joy, joy it was accepted. So then what, I wondered. Oh, that’s right. Sit down and edit The Throwback Trilogy – The Throwback, The Punisher & The Rule Changer – that Clan Destine Press will be re-publishing as eBooks. This trilogy (which has been out of print for a few years) is a futuristic fantasy about Fish, a Mega ‘throwback’, and his Outcast brothers and friends. The Throwback Fish must confront his enemy the Megas, even though he looks just like them. His friends and the rest of the Eastern Outcasts, are not happy about that. How are they going to smuggle Fish into Megalopolis when he is too tall, too thin, too blonde and looks nothing like the rest of their own Outcast cluster? The Punisher Fish discovers Ari, a Mega female, who has suffered a meltdown from too many Knowledge Chips being inserted in her brain. He saves her but later learns she has been stolen by Wilderness gypsies to be given to the Punisher who intends to sacrific her to Or Mool. The Rule Changer After Fish, Weed and Branch save Ari from being sacrificed, they have to cross the Wilderness Mountains to return to the Eastern Zone. And it is Fish, as the Rule Changer, who unites the four Zones and Megalopolis when all are attacked by Oriac and the forces of Or Mool.
Legend of the Three Moons
by Patricia Bernard
Five children held captive in an ever-changing forest, trapped by their own memory loss, face the battle of their lives to overcome evil and reclaim their birthright. Why do they only have some memories for one day? What is the purpose of the Three Moons’ Song? Which of their magical gifts will allow the children to conquer the riddles of the imprisoned mermaid, the chained eagle and the frozen dragon? Adventure and danger abound as Lyla, Celeste, Lem, Chad and Swift face enchanters, murderers, shape thieves, monsters and slave traders to save all that is precious to them.
coming May 2012
NARRELLE M HARRIS
THE LONG-AWAITED SEQUEL TO: THE OPPOSITE OF L IFE
The blood, the killing, the running away
grew up reading in a house always bursting with books. I grew up writing, too, as soon as I knew how. For a long time it was just a fun part of who I was, and I did other things for a living, including teaching English as a foreign language in Egypt and Poland. Eventually, I woke up to my true vocation and became a writer for my day job. At the same time, my fiction writing finally found a publisher. My first book, two crime novellas under the title Fly By Night, was nominated for a Ned Kelly Award for First Crime Novel in 2004. My next two books were fantasy quests, Witch Honour and Witch Faith, published in the US. The Opposite of Life, my fourth novel, was published in Australia. The vampire novel-come-murder mystery is set in contemporary Melbourne, narrated by Lissa, an angry and impulsive librarian, and featuring Gary, a nerdy, socially awkward vampire from the suburbs. Together, they attempt to find the rogue vampire murdering people in Melbourne, preferably before the population at large realises that vampires aren’t just stylishly dressed metaphors for sex and death. Lissa and Gary develop a friendship, making some realisations about themselves, life and loss as they go. Gary and Lissa made an impact on a lot of readers, including Charlaine Harris, author of the vampire novels on which True Blood is based, who said: Lissa Wilson, librarian, geek, and young woman about town… seems to be the magnet for trouble. … She’s a wonderful character; not because she’s an heroic supergirl, but because she rings true.
Gary and Lissa took on a life of their own since their book came out, and conduct irregular reviews (or ‘GaryViews’) on my blog, Mortal Words. Mostly they review vampire books, films and tv with an eye on how inaccurate they are about vampire lore. Their Gary View conversations often reveal elements of their ‘back story’ about their families and early childhood years. Lissa also makes Gary review musicals because, she says, the look on his face as everyone starts to sing is just plain hilarious. They have also reviewed art, theatre, stand up comedy and a decorative skull. (The pair also have Twitter accounts, but they only go online from time to time. Gary keeps forgetting how to use computers. It’s hard having an undead brain.) Most recently, Gary and Lissa went to the Royal Melbourne Show and uncovered undead scheming at the Haunted House. This story appears in my anthology Showtime (Twelfth Planet Press), where it keeps company with other short stories featuring ghosts, vampires and zombies. Like The Opposite of Life, the stories all share a certain black sense of humour; explorations of (family) relationships; and proper scary bits, because you can’t have a zombie story without the eating of brains, after all. I’m delighted to be working with Clan Destine Press to bring out Walking Shadows, the second Gary and Lissa novel, wherein they continue their attempts to live ordinary lives, while the universe continues not to allow that to happen. While the first book dealt with a murderous vampire breaking the 21st century vampire code of staying under the radar, Walking Shadows sees Gary and Lissa facing the arrival of a frighteningly successful vampire hunter, who is relentlessly picking off Melbourne’s small vampire community. Gary also has some secrets he’s never shared; and Lissa learns even more about the unexpected downsides of being undead. Mundy, Melbourne’s oldest vampire, seems to hate Lissa; and Magdalene, Melbourne meanest vampire and owner of the Gold Bug, isn’t much of a fan either. So it seems Lissa and Gary have enemies no matter which way they turn. All the while Lissa is managing the return of her alcoholic father and trying to convince her beloved sister that Gary is not going to eat anyone. Of course, before the end, there’s the blood, the killing, the fires and the running like the clappers for their lives.
My other recent projects have included the creation of an iPhone application, ‘Melbourne Literary’, which is a guide to Melbourne’s literary scene. I’m working on a second secret iPhone project in between all my other projects, because that’s how I roll. To find out more about Narrelle, Gary and Lissa: Website: www.narrellemharris.com Blog: www.mortalwords.com.au
by Narrelle M Harris Lissa Wilson’s world changed forever when people she cared about – and one she could’ve loved – were murdered. By vampires. They tried to kill her, too. On the plus side, she made a new friend. Gary Hooper might be Melbourne’s – or maybe the world’s – least impressive vampire, but he may just be Lissa’s best friend, ever. Without meaning to, he changed her and he taught her the value of her life. Knowing Lissa has changed Gary, too, even though he’s not really sure what it means. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have secrets. Secrets that might end their friendship, if Lissa ever learned about the services he provides the undead community. And what is an ordinary geekgirl librarian to do when hardcore vampire killers begin killing off Melbourne’s vampire population, and her undead bestie is on the hit list? Should she throw herself into mortal danger, despite having no battle skills, let alone supernatural strength? Lissa risks everything to protect someone who should be perfectly capable of protecting himself. And Gary finds that the ways he’s changing might make him more human – if they don’t get him killed. Everyone has secrets; everyone gets trapped by their history. How many can learn how to change? How many will live long enough to try?
coming June 2012
Why don’t you write a book?
ust imagine that you are in your mid twenties, on a working holiday in London and living the good life; a fun share house, great mates and a job that couldn’t be any better. Imagine you’re enjoying another balmy English summer night watching TV in the living room at the front of your house, scooping the dregs straight from a container of ice-cream, when suddenly you hear the sound of smashing glass. It takes a moment to register where the noise has come from and, almost before you do, you see your venetian blinds move – and you know it’s your own front window that’s been broken. Then time slows. You see two teenage boys: Bangladeshi, you think. Their eyes are dead eyes; hate-filled eyes. One boy is holding a glass bottle, with a rag sticking out the top. You look at his other hand. It holds a lighter. Slowly, slowly, you see him flick the lighter and bring his hands together. You see the lighter touch the rag, then a burst of flame. You see the flaming bottle leave his hand as he throws it... at you. You have enough time to scream: ‘You’ve got the wrong guy!’ But it’s too late; the flying bottle continues its trajectory into your home. You duck and try to shield your face. The bottle deflects off your forearm
and smashes against the wall above you, raining petrol down on you. And then – with a whoosh – you are on fire. Your arms and your face go up in flames. The walls around you and the couch you are sitting on is ablaze. From that moment, your life is never the same again. This is a true story. This is my story. We all experience pain in one form or another, but we rarely stop to think about what pain really is. Have you ever sat through a painful conversation, or experienced the pain of a broken heart? Where do you have that pain? When amputees say that they can feel pain in their amputated toes, where is their pain? When you have a scan or x-ray of your back pain or a sore knee, and the results come back as normal, where is that pain? The reality is that pain is complex. It is not actually something that you can see on a scan or x-ray. In fact, we don’t have a test to show pain. Unfortunately most people, including most health practitioners, don’t understand this. When I started my career as a physiotherapist not so long ago, I really didn’t understand pain either. I would treat the same person once or twice a week for months on end without much success. I continued to treat them, because at least I was doing something; although I did sometimes question the effectiveness of my treatment. I also began to notice patterns. Why were my patients saying that when they were upset or stressed, their pain was worse? And how on earth could the weather affect their levels of pain? With so many questions, the only answer I had for sure was that I wasn’t going to learn the answer by working as a junior physiotherapist at a busy private practice. So to satisfy my hunger for knowledge – and my rampant travel bug – I packed my bags and left the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to join the mad rush of London. For a couple of years, I worked at various hospitals gaining invaluable experience. And then I got a dream job with a research-based pain management program; one of the best in the field. Working there answered so many of my questions about pain, and gave me the skills and knowledge not only to deal with its physical aspects but its psychological ones as well. I was soon teaching pain sufferers ‘what pain was’ and, more importantly, how to manage it successfully. Even so there are some things in life you can’t be taught. In my case, although I was considered an expert in pain management, I didn’t know what it was like to live with pain. After the hundreds of people we treated at the program, I could understand what it might be like, but I had no first-hand experience.
Not until that balmy summer night when I was attacked by two teenagers hurling a Molotov cocktail. During my long inpatient hospital stay, and through the follow-up medical appointments, I became one of the very people I’d been treating for so long. Waking up with pain, having to take medications, feeling drowsy and desperate for a good night’s sleep was a whole new world to me. Not just that, but the emotional rollercoaster made things worse. Not knowing if I’d be scarred for life, the frustration of being unable to use my hands because of the pain, not being able to concentrate, feeling down for no reason, and losing my temper with my friends and family over minor things was a terrible thing to experience. And thus began my real education. Being a pain expert guaranteed me no immunity from the experience of pain. I began to isolate myself and started to fall into the same vicious downward spirals that had snared many of my patients. I finally recognised what was happening to me, and managed to get myself together. I began using the very principles I’d taught my patients: how to pace activities; how to get into a positive mindset; how to manage flare-ups; and how to get back to doing the things I enjoyed. I literally practiced what I preached and I was soon getting back to normality. After I was on my feet again, I decided to return home to the support of my family in Melbourne. I started working in Occupational Rehabilitation, helping injured workers return to work, but soon noticed that many of the doctors and therapists who were ‘helping’ my clients, had a poor understanding of effective pain management. I met so many injured workers who simply needed guidance, but instead were almost being over-treated, in multiple weekly appointments, with no effective change or improvement in their condition. When I realised how many people could benefit from my knowledge and skills in pain management, I started my own practice, Beyond Pain. I knew what it felt like to be in pain; and knew the successes and pitfalls in trying to manage it. And, as a professional expert, I had the medical knowledge to know what worked and what didn’t in effective pain management. The pain management program at Beyond Pain runs like a course. Each session includes an educational component, and a practical component which looks at effective selfmanagement strategies. In late 2011, in front of an audience of more than a
thousand people, I was thrilled to receive the WorkSafe Treating Health Practitioner Achievement Award for my program. I’m always fine-tuning the program, tailoring it to the individual, and I often see remarkable changes after just a few sessions. Clients, whose pain makes them slow and awkward in simple walking and stand-up/sit-down exercises, show noticeable improvement in flexibility, agility and general movement. But there are so many people in pain. It is estimated that one in five people in the western world suffers from pain. That’s more than the number of diabetics and asthmatics put together. In Australia alone, pain treatments cost over $35 billion annually. And too many of those sufferers have no outward signs – or ‘proof of pain’. I started wondering about how I could share my award-winning program with as many people as possible, to help others take control of their pain, and change their lives forever. I’d love people to fill their diaries with things they want to do instead of noting one medical appointment after another. But how could I help more than just the people who came to my program? How could I help everyone? It was a friend, and breast cancer survivor, who gave me the answer. I had caught up with her socially and was talking about how best she might be able to manage her pain and the strategies that could help her. She was amazed at how simple, yet helpful, my suggestions were. She couldn’t believe, after seeing so many doctors and specialists, that a catch-up with a friend gave her the strategies she was looking for. She said: Anj, why don’t you write a book? And there was my solution. That was how I could pass my knowledge on to as many people as possible. Nearly two years later, Beyond Pain the book can give you all the answers you need to conquer pain effectively, without the drugs, without the frustrations, and without the side effects. The book also has information that health practitioners can utilise. What is unique about Beyond Pain is that it is the only program written by both an expert and a sufferer of chronic pain. People who suffer from chronic pain can read about my journey, learn to understand what pain really is, and then follow the easy-to-use program. People who live or work with someone in pain can also learn from it, can begin to understand what their family member, friend or colleague is going through and encourage and them to take the path beyond pain.
by Anjelo Ratnachandra
Melbourne physiotherapist Anjelo Ratnachandra left home to work in a cutting-edge pain management clinic in the UK. Little did he know that he would soon have to use those very methods on himself after getting caught in the crossfire of a vicious gang war. A tragic case of mistaken identity left the young Australian severely injured after members of a local gang threw a petrol bomb through his front window. Forced to practise what he’d been preaching, Anjelo Ratnachandra gained a profound personal understanding of pain and its management – both as a medical professional and a sufferer of chronic pain. On his return to Australia, Anjelo opened his own pain management clinic, where he introduced and refined the best practice in pain management. His methods – if they’re followed correctly – are guaranteed to improve the lives of sufferers of chronic pain. Anjelo soon realised, however, that he wasn’t reaching enough people, so he he decided to write Beyond Pain – to tell his own story and share his methods.
coming July 2012
& THE QUESTY THING
TO END ALL QUESTY THINGS
THE SECOND CUT
A fairy tale of kindred wordsmiths
e’re tempted to begin this article with ‘once upon a time’ because that’s the way all good fairy tales begin. And this is a fairy tale – or a fairy tale that culminated in another fairy tale. So we begin the story of two stay-at-home mums, both accomplished in many things, but still seeking the very thing that would complete them. Two mums who came to know each other through a twist of fate, who would discover that they shared a passion for books and writing, and well, most things really; who would become firm and favourite friends; who would inspire each other to follow their dreams; dreams which would collide and unite. Several years ago we – Amanda Wrangles and Kylie Fox – lived just ten doors away from each other in the same street but had never actually met. Each day Kylie would wander past Amanda’s house, always interested in the people who lived in the place with the gorgeously-decorated ‘undersea’ bedroom. Amanda, meanwhile, would watch as the heavily pregnant Kylie walked past pushing her two young daughters in their pram. Somehow, even then, we both knew we were ‘our’ kind of people; but had yet to learn just how true that was. At the time, we were both stay-at-home mums – a position we both revelled in, even though we knew the world held so much more for us. Amanda was a qualified hairdresser and a dive master and was always busying herself with a new art or craft project – creating beautiful pieces of work with her various talents. She’d also written several stories and had always loved to write; and read – her shelves were brimming with books. Words, she knew, were always going to be a passion. Kylie, on the other hand, had more than a passing obsession with the dark side. At school she’d studied psychology with the intention of going on to
further studies in criminology or law. A childhood spent watching horror movies with her father piqued more than a little interest in what made the bad guys tick. But most of all, Kylie wanted to write. The problem was, reallife, normal people didn’t write books, did they? Authors were mysterious beings who spent their lives in the highest towers of crystal castles, tapping out fabulous stories for others to enjoy. They weren’t stay-at-home mums with giant dreams and no one to share them with. Then fate stepped in, in the form of a Christmas street party. Normally fairly shy, we ummed and erred about attending, but in the end were dragged along by our partners and children. We’re still not sure if was the glint in each other’s eye that told us we were kindred word-souls, if Christmas magic was at play, or if it was just that we were the only two people at the party pushing small children in prams – whatever it was, magic did happen that night. We met, we talked – a lot – and then Amanda invited Kylie into her home to see, up close, the underwater murals she’d painted on her son’s bedroom walls. When Kylie noticed that Amanda’s bookshelf was stuffed with titles almost identical to her own, that they... we realised this was going to be a friendship like no other – a friendship that, just like a fairytale, would change our lives forever. A wicked sense of sarcasm, horror, blood, dirty nappies, a sick sense of humour, children’s birthday parties, debates on religion, politics, tolerance, and how globs of brain matter might stick to walls, are the things that brought us together. But the things that cemented our friendship was a shared love of books, words, favourite authors (gotta hand it to you, Mr Stephen King), all the characters we met and loved between the pages, and the dream we both held of writing about our very own, made up worlds. It wasn’t long before we decided that simply talking about our dreams wasn’t enough – after all writers write. We had to do something about it. But where to start? Our children’s kindergarten may not have been the obvious place to find the answer but that was where we found it, none the less. Fortuitously, one of the other kinder mums, someone we’d spent time with on the committee of management (eek!), told us about a friend of hers who used to run a creative writing class. Perhaps she would reinstate the classes if she knew there was some interest in the area. And she did. The first Wednesday morning, when the writing course was set to begin, Amanda had to drag Kylie up the driveway of Lindy Cameron’s house because the excitement and anticipation had moved aside to allow nerves, fear and an abundance of self-doubt to creep in. What if, after dreaming of being a writer for her whole life, Kylie discovered that she actually sucked at it?
Within a couple of weeks of classes and the start of a novel, the answer to both Amanda and Kylie came with a hand slammed on the table and a roaring curse from Lindy. “You two didn’t tell me you could already write!” Writing classes became less classes and more a regular writing group with each of us sharing our work, discussing our plots and talking all things books and writing. For one day of the week, children were left behind and our word babies got to come out to play. Soon, Amanda’s first novel about a dead chick, her freaky best friend and a host of other creatures, and Kylie’s book about a governmentsanctioned assassin with a wicked sense of humour, were born. We both continued to work on our novels, one a young adult paranormal thriller, the other a dark crime-based thriller, while we also tackled some short stories. Two of those stories – entered in Sisters in Crime Australia’s annual Scarlet St iletto Awards – gave us the confidence boost we needed to know that we were on the right track; that this writing gig could really work for us. Amanda’s story, ‘Persia Bloom’ won the 2009 Scarlet Stiletto Award; and Kylie’s story ‘Poppies’won the competition’s Dorothy Porter Award in 2010. Both are published in the anthology Scarlet Stiletto The Second Cut. To be able to call ourselves “award winning writers” was and still is, an amazing feeling – but having our brains permanently immersed in the dark worlds we’d created was, at times, exhausting. It occurred to us that we could and probably should write something more light-hearted and possibly even funny, to counter-balance the dark. We’d already had fun writing a multi-authored story with our writing group, but we wondered if we could write something together, passing the torch back and forth; purely for our own entertainment. We figured if it were just for us, we wouldn’t have the constraints of worrying what others thought; we could play with words in a way that gave us complete and total freedom. We wanted to write something as far from our normal genres and safety zones as possible. We wanted to push ourselves, and each other, and to hell with the consequences! And so, one dark, stormy night (well, it could have been, we’ve no idea what the weather was really like) of alcohol-induced brainstorming, Arrabella Candellarbra was born. As in all good fantasy stories, Arrabella, the fairest of all maidens, would need the manliest man of all men as her love interest. Lord Langley Kilkenny, he of the oily skin and magical loin cloth immediately sprang to life. Of course, with our warped minds, the road to true love and happiness could not be easy for Arrabella and Langley; they would need some type of
quest to complete before they could truly settle down and live happily ever after. Quests need friends and other peeps on your side. Prince Jim of the Fairies, a very fey prince indeed, was joined by the wisest of all wise wizards because every warrior girl in a quest story needs at least one fairy and an icicle-bearded wizard called Gary. Of course epic quests need more than good guys and great sidekicks, they also need foes and dastardly impediments. In particular a questy thing needs an arch-enemy: a wickedly nasty, formidable crone with thousands of minions under her spell, who’ll stop at nothing to ruin Arrabella’s chances of completing her quest to gain the power of all the lands, Mother Nature, Father Time and Aunt In-Between. Enter the very evil Betty-Sue. And so, on that (ahem) dark and stormy night, our initial cast of characters was brought to life on scraps of paper, between laugh-out-loud scenarios, and nervous giggles of where we might take them. Love? Eww. We didn’t do love. Sex? Ughh. Even worse. We’re mothers remember? But, pop culture references infiltrating the questy thing at every turn and songs turned into spells and incantations? That we could do! The next morning, even sober, the idea didn’t seem too ridiculous. So we created a private Facebook group, with only two members. Using the old ‘discussion’ format (that Facebook has eradicated), we began our story with one word: Enter. One of us would write a few lines, or even a paragraph if the mood struck. The other would pick up the story at exactly that point. We didn’t edit the other’s posts, but we did do a lot of complaining every time we left our characters in a dire (or rude!) predicament. But that was part of the fun – when our minds went blank, our children actually required feeding, or it just got too damn hard – we passed the buck. Our posts would sometimes be only a few dozen words, other times a few hundred, but as time went on and Arrabella’s story grew, those words and lines became pages. Always, the object was to make the other squirm, to push ourselves into an uncomfortable place where we’d never admitted out loud we could write before. We gave ourselves time limits, no writer’s procrastination allowed. Gradually as the story began to unfold, it became a real story. Gone was the idea that it was merely a writing exercise. The characters took on lives of their own and the questy thing became more epic. We
needed to know what was going to happen, and our writing group – with whom we’d decided to share each chapter, week after hilarious week – needed to know what happened. It became evident that this was and should be a real book. By that stage Lindy had launched her own publishing company, Clan Destine Press, and broached the subject of publishing Arrabella. After all, if we thought it was funny and our writing group thought it was funny then maybe, just maybe, other people would think it was funny too. But to be certain, we all needed a second opinion. And who better to ask than someone who’s written more novels than she’s had years on the planet? Lindy sent The Questy Thing To End All Questy Things to Kerry Greenwood. Surely she could be trusted to judge a good story when she read one. The response was a resounding, and slightly overwhelming, yes! Kerry stayed up into the wee hours unable to put the book down, reading our adventures and laughing out loud. That was all the reassurance we needed. The book was f inished – all without a single argument or disagreement between us – and Arrabella Candellarbra was launched into the world. We’re still working on our own solo novels and the second book in the Arrabella series is well underway. The quest heads to Fairyland where a cast of new characters await to tantalise, tease, taunt and conjure fits of laughter. In Arrabella Candellarbra 2 we have a slightly mad fairy king, a whole lot of (possibly headless) statues, killer penguins and butterflies. There will be all the old friends and foes, and Arrabella will learn some lessons in betrayal. We still use a similar format to write, passing the buck back and forth between us – even for this article! No one but us knows who wrote which bits in Arrabella’s story (not even our publisher), and we have to admit, even we get confused these days. Our writing style for this fairy tale series for adults has become so entwined, so similar, that it really belongs to another single entity known as A.K. Wrox. Just like Arrabella, A.K. created herself. Yes, she’s us, but she’s also her own person. A.K. is everything we’re not quite – she’s never self-conscious or shy, and she doesn’t stumble over her words when she’s nervous. Frankly, A.K. is who we’d like to be. She writes about sex, she writes about (strange) love and she writes a hell of a lot of kick-arse action scenes with nasty bunnies and viscous toads. She’s funnier than either of us and, because she has no one at all to answer to, her imagination knows no bounds.
& The Questy Thing To End All Questy Things by A.K. Wrox Arrabella Candellarbra is like no one you’ve ever met before; even though her questy thing is the stuff of legend. Okay, the hilarious epic-fantasy spoofery adult fairy-tale kind of legend. Arrabella, a beautiful, flaxen-haired maiden trained in all things warrior-like by the most famous warriors of all – The Reginas – embarks on a quest to claim her birthright and to wield the power of all the lands. Arrabella joins forces with Lord Langley Kilkenny – the perfect specimen of manliness; icicle-bearded Gary – the wisest of all Wizards; and Prince Jim – the very-fey fairy Regent. The Four Adventurers soon find themselves pitted against the Evil Betty-Sue – the meanest of evil beings in all of the lands – and her scary minions. Yes, our heroes must defeat Sawtoothed Bunnies, Viscous-Tongued Frogs and the ISBN: 978-0-9807900-6-1 Barella Monkeys to rescue The Reginas available now from… something! Nothing could possibly go wrong on a quest like this, could it? Featuring heroic heroes and a host of characters and creatures never before assembled in one story, this epic fairy tale for grown-ups delivers love and lust, action and inaction, battles, incantations, sexual shenanigans and high-kicking sing-a-longs. It promises that all those epic questy things will never be the same again. Seriously!
& The Questy Thing To End All Questy Things coming October 2012
Artwork for Arrabella Candellarbra by Ran Valerhon.
A NEW KIND OF DEATH
[AUTHOR OF: EON , EONA SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES]
Dark and edgy with a serve of miso soup
was 12 years old when I got the idea for my crime novel A New Kind of Death. That sounds a bit precocious, but it was, of course, only the core idea and I didn’t recognise it for what it was until I was well into my twenties. That core idea arrived via the book I was reading at the time: Watership Down by Richard Adams. Watership Down is a marvellous story about the lives of rabbits, and it has a passing reference to the ability of female rabbits to reabsorb – or resorb to use the scientific name – the foetuses of their young back into their own body in times of stress or overcrowding. This just blew my twelve-year-old mind and I immediately asked the question: what if women could resorb? That what if was the start of my life as a writer. And it was the start of the creation of A New Kind of Death. At the heart of A New Kind of Death is the idea that a few women in the world have the ability to resorb their own foetuses at will. It is a mutation that, if left to develop, would eventually become the norm. Just imagine what would happen to the multi-billion dollar contraceptive market if the Rabbit Woman mutation took hold. The Forecaster, one of the characters in A New Kind of Death, is paid by his pharmaceutical company to imagine just that type of scenario, and he knows he has to act against the mutation before the company’s profits are compromised forever. And so starts A New Kind of Death – a dark, funny, sexy and violent crime novel, set in Melbourne and Sydney with an occasional crossover to Harare and Kyoto for that added zing of international menace.
The story follows the collision course of four characters. First is The Forecaster, the Japanese salary-man intent on protecting his beloved company. Then there is Hannie Reynard, a fledgling Melbourne filmmaker who is desperately trying to track down one of the “Rabbit Women” to save her documentary. Hannie is being blackmailed by Mosson Ferret, a bean counter who is overseeing her grant and trying to force his way back into filmmaking. And last – but never least – is Trojan Carmichael, an ageing hitman hired to kill the seven Rabbit Women living in Australia. A New Kind of Death has a strong Japanese element woven into the story, and that comes from the influence of my late Japanese aunt who introduced me to her culture through her stories and wonderful food, and inspired a lifelong fascination with Japan. As part of my research for the book, I travelled to Tokyo and Kyoto, and walked along the streets that my character Mosson Ferret walks on his own big trip overseas; the same streets that The Forecaster dreams of returning to in his lonely company flat in Harare. That trip to Japan was just part of what I call ‘experiential’ research, or hands-on research, and I do a lot of it for each of my novels. For A New Kind of Death, I also learned how to shoot handguns and rifles (I wasn’t too bad), studied hand-to-hand fighting techniques (I wasn’t too good), and met up with some decidedly dodgy people who had been in ‘security’ for large overseas companies. I also ate a lot of delicious Japanese food – a really tough research assignment, but someone had to do it. You’ll find a lot of food in A New Kind of Death – agadashi tofu in salty bonito soup, hokkien noodles dripping with dark soy, doughy daifuku cakes with nutty red bean centres. Mmmmm. Don’t ask me why, but death and food seem to go together. A New Kind of Death is not your normal sort of crime novel. It’s edgy and dark and slyly funny. It has sharp elbows and bared teeth and packs a punch. But it also has heart and a good dollop of classic edge-of-your-seat suspense. Not to mention, a very good recipe for real miso soup. A New Kind of Death was previously print published in the USA under the title Killing the Rabbit. It received a Highly Commended at the 2008 Davitt Awards.
A New Kind of Death
by Alison Goodman
Hannie Reynard landed every aspiring filmmaker’s dream: a hefty grant to make her documentary, Freaks or Frauds. But the groundbreaking film that was supposed to launch Hannie’s career may kill her instead. Blowing the grant money on a lost weekend was bad enough, but now the subjects of her film - women who share a unique genetic trait - have stopped talking... and started disappearing. Blackmailed into accepting a burned-out colleague as her cameraman, Hannie follows a perilous trail that leads her and her crew towards a powerful puppet master with a deadly obsession. And closing in on them all is a ruthless hit man with a shooting schedule of his own.
coming July 2012
‘A sharp, aware and compelling thriller, taking the genre into exciting new territories.’ – Michael Marshall (author of Blood Angels)
‘Every fascinating, unique character leaps off the page and lingers long after it’s turned. Goodman has a winner.’ – Kelley Armstrong (author of Exit Strategy) ‘Take one part Michael Crichton-style sci-fi speculation and two parts Australian ambience, add the hot-button topicality of women’s reproductive rights plus a colourful array of endearing misfits and evil henchmen for spice, stir in generous helpings of white-knuckle suspense and corporate cloak-and-dagger intrigue, and shake well, and you have the recipe for [A New Kind of Death], a delectable debut thriller from Alison Goodman. You’ll eat it up!’ – Stephen Woodworth (author of Through Violet Eyes and With Red Hands) ‘Quite simply the best first SF novel I’ve read in years. I’m tempted to invoke the names of Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Marge Piercy, and even Quentin Tarantino … but Goodman’s near future vision and ripped-from-the-tabloids premise are so unique I’d rather not compare her to anyone. I hope and believe that [A New Kind Of Death] marks the arrival of a major new talent on the SF scene.’ – Chris Moriarty (author of Spin Control)
GOLDEN RELIC * THE K IT O’MALLEY MYSTERIES: BLOOD GUILT, BLEEDING HEARTS & THICKER THAN WATER * KILLER WOMEN * M URDERER IN THE FAMILY * CRIME SHOTS
When you just have to blow something up
have been a writer of crime fiction for 17 years and have loved every word of it. There’s nothing better than ravelling a bit of intrigue and suspense around a domestic crime, a criminal plot, or a neat MacGuffin, while using this most perfect of vehicles to delve into social, legal, political or environmental issues. As a strong sense of place forms the foundation of any good crime novel, I like to think that my first four novels – Golden Relic and the three Kit O’Malley mysteries, Blood Guilt, Bleeding Hearts and Thicker Than Water – also helped to put contemporary Melbourne on the fictionalcrime map of the world. But, while I was busy creating an imaginary Melbourne, which now exists inside the real city, the world around me was going to hell in a hand-basket. Our previous government had dragged Australia onto the world stage so it could play with the big boys; while it ignored issues of illegal detention of both asylum seekers and enemy combatants; and created sedition laws to keep us all quiet. I was getting madder by the day, but didn’t know what to do about it. And then it dawned on me; I should do what I do best: makes things up. I decided to write a fictional political-espionage adventure thriller in which the real world is disguised in a cloak of action and drama. Yeah I know, I’m not the first author to do this. But I did discover that not many other Australian writers were/are doing it; and was very surprised to learn that too many of those few had resorted to using American protagonists to tell their action/adventure stories.
As a National Co-Convenor of Sisters in Crime Australia I have long been involved in the promotion and encouragement of Australian (women) writers who write Australian crime. I figured it was time we home-grown authors or perhaps, more tellingly, our publishers acknowledged that there was no reason why the action hero, and other ‘main characters’, of a contemporary fast-paced espionage-adventure thriller can’t be Australian. Why shouldn’t Aussies traipse around the world saving the day? Novels, TV and movies have forever given us imaginary US Presidents and British Prime Ministers who save the world, or lead it to the brink of disaster; who get kidnapped, assassinated or run out of office; or who are seen to be good, bad or indifferent. The high esteem in which the office of the US President is held by Americans has never stopped American writers from creating fallible or heroic, honest or dishonest fictional versions of the ‘leader of the free world’. There has been, however, a strange reluctance to create fictional Australian leaders of any description. With Redback I dare to suggest that my Aussie PM may well be the subject of an assassination plot; that his government should accept the consequences of its foreign policy decisions and its involvement in the war on terror; and that our nation is in fact the target of known terrorists. I also – it must be said – LOVE shooting bad guys and blowing things up. This may be an odd thing for a woman – even a woman crime writer – to admit to, but I do! I love guns, and swords and explosions. And I love research. I therefore have the best job in the world because as a writer I can combine all the things I love. For instance, I researched Apache helicopters so I could work out the most dramatic (and realistic) way to blow one up. I researched sniper rifles, kitanas and handguns, so I… so my heroes and bad guys could have the right/best/coolest weapons for the jobs they have to do. I researched the SAS, ASIO, the CIA, MI5, the FBI, the White House, Peshewar, Dallas and Sydney, so that my Aussies can take on the world. I vicariously studied different forms of armed combat and martial arts and very techno techno-stuff so I could create a totally kickarse team of believable Aussie ‘Retrieval Agents’. And then I created the sublimely professional ex soldier Commander Bryn Gideon to lead that very team of mult i-skilled agents and likeable bunch of blokes known as The Redbacks. And of course, being me, I made Bryn Gideon a woman. Because I could.
by Lindy Cameron On a tranquil Pacific island, Commander Bryn Gideon and the Redback retrieval team stage a secret rescue to recover hostages captured by rebels. Meanwhile, American journalist Scott Dreher, researching computer-game training for actual warfare, uncovers disturbing links between government agencies and known terrorist groups. Elsewhere around the globe, trade negotiator Jana Rossi’s new job with the Helix Foundation lands her in trouble in Thailand; Ashraf Majid prepares for his first mission for the militant Atarsa Kára; homegrown terrorists in Europe and America prepare to assault their own governments; and a lone assassin stalks and dispatches the victims on his hit list. Independently, Gideon and Dreher narrow the degrees of separation between these seemingly unrelated international incidents to the singular manipulations of a mysterious organisation with no ISBN: 978-0-9807900-2-3 common political or religious affiliations. available now To achieve their ultimate goal, these conspirators have no problem playing both sides of the terror divide against each other. It then, of course, becomes a race for Gideon and her Redbacks to unravel a Gordian knot conspiracy to...
FROM THE C LAN
DESTINE PRESS EBOOKERY
* coming June 2012
THE FRANKSTON S ERIAL KILLER
CRIME SHOTS *
Revisiting a real-life serial killer
began writing about the Frankston serial killings in 1993, before Paul Denyer was even caught. His crimes interwove with some short true crime stories I was writing after doing ride-alongs with the police at Frankston. I was sitting in the back of a police car on the night that Natalie Russell was murdered, feeling sick with dread that this killer could walk among us and kill with such daring brutality, even with the hundreds of extra police who had been called into Frankston as reinforcements. The 2011 updated re-release of my book The Frankston Serial Killer – with the twist about how Denyer wants to become a woman – made me realise that a case like this grows up with all of us. I was in my twenties when I wrote the original book (titled The Frankston Murders) back in 1994. My daughter, who was in primary school then, is now is a young woman with a baby of her own. The crimes, so raw and fresh when I wrote about them, are a solved case that will be 20 years old in 2013. This passing of time was no better illustrated than when Natalie Russell’s mum, Carmel, told me that Natalie’s younger brother is now in his 30s, and had she lived, Natalie would have been 34. Instead, Denyer’s final victim is forever 17, never growing older; captured as a teenager in the photos that still have pride of place around her parents’ home in Frankston. Her loss, heartfelt as ever, has become something different over time: something to lament; something to sigh over. But back then, the family’s loss was a puffy-eyed, heartbreaking raw wound. Many authors say they never read their own books once they’ve been published. Part of the reason is that we have read it hundreds of times in the writing and drafting process and at the end, are almost incapable of judging
it at all. We’re too close. So aside from the case, which is always fresh in my mind, there was a certain cringe-factor when it came to reading my book so many years after it was released. We authors imagine that the more years we write the better we get at it so, ergo what we wrote 15 years ago was probably badly written. Yes, folks, an insight into a writer’s insecurities… I was pleasantly surprised then this book was not only compelling but, because of the way I wrote it, really showed the humanity of the people who were affected by the case. As far as the story itself, I found myself getting quite emotional reading parts of it because not only was I remembering the story, but I recalled the moments of hearing it from the families of the victims over coffee and tissues. I remembered their pain as if it were yesterday. At the time, I had experienced little loss in my life aside from elderly grandparents. Now I have a better insight into the loss I ‘described’ in the book; the pointless unexplainable loss that can’t be made sense of. I now know first-hand what that is like. I have empathy rather than sympathy. Then, I felt their pain in my heart, now I feel it in my soul. Revisiting Frankston for me was also a physical thing. I used to live near where it all happened, but moved away not long afterwards. As I drove through the streets, I smiled at the Safeway where I used to shop, the Chinese restaurant that often fed my family when I was too busy writing to cook. I smiled at so many memories. After 19 years, it was interesting to see who – apart from the families of the victims – still holds the Frankston serial killings close to them. The case remains very fresh in the minds of many people who lived in the area and had a connection with either the victims or the Denyer family. And to those who had no direct connection, but who lived with the terror of who might be the next victim. Would it be their daughter, wife, sister or friend. While people from other Melbourne suburbs might struggle to recall who the Frankston serial killer was, Frankston residents have no trouble naming him. Paul Denyer himself has changed. A lot. When he was first interviewed by detectives, he was a thuggish 21 year old with a chip on his shoulder, facing what he imagined to be a 20-year sentence for the crimes he admitted doing. He wrote chirpily to family about what he was going to wear in court, and talked about his favourite cars. Being only 21, he perhaps had little concept that he might never drive a car again, let alone save up and buy his favourite model. Denyer has kept himself clean in prison – as most serial
killers do. Aside, that is, from the bombshell he dropped about wanting to wear make-up, dress as a woman, and call himself Paula. Experts explain the prison phenomenon with serial killers. They say that with a regular regime, good nutrition, and an absence of victims, serial killers are generally well behaved. After all, the only laws they broke on the outside were often the murders and nothing else. Deprived of victims, they are usually quite civilised in their behaviour. But that’s where the problem lies. When Denyer applies for parole after his 30-year minimum sentence is up, he can point to his unblemished record inside, and declare himself free from his boyhood shenanigans. Look at me now, he might say as a 51-year-old model prisoner dressed demurely as a woman, I haven’t done anything wrong for 30 years. Trust me. But the fact is, we should never trust Paul Denyer. He was born with a lust for murder. It was all he used to think about. The power of taking a life was his aphrodisiac. And, despite appearances, he still doesn’t get it. Dressing as a woman does not demonstrate empathy. He is incapable of it. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the letter he wrote back to me after I’d written to him to ask if he wanted to make a statement for the new edition of my book. ‘Paula’ Denyer wrote back to me saying ‘she’ wouldn’t add anything to the book because one day, she intended writing her “own unbiased account of the murders”. Huh? Unbiased? Is he kidding? Or does he truly believe, just as children do, that because their account feels right, it must be the one true version. So while Paul Denyer might look like a warped version of a woman, we must never forget that he is/was a man who hated women and wanted to kill them. We must never forget that he demonstrated a very dangerous egocentricity during his interviews. It was all about him and his reactions. The women he killed were mere props in his play. He described Natalie Russell offering sex in exchange for her life as disgusting; shaking his head like she was filth, not a kid in a school uniform trying to survive. He admonished Rozsa Toth for ‘going against her word’ and running away from him as he tried to kill her. In short, he expected others to play by the rules, while he violently flouted them. This character trait can be masked by the passing of time and the gaining of wrinkles and grey pigtails. But it is not just the façade that the parole board would be releasing, should they go against the advice of the sentencing judge and grant Denyer’s freedom when he is eligible to go before it. They would be releasing the dark and twisted mind, the knife-wielding killer who hunted and stalked women as a pastime. It is the hidden killer they need to look out for – the very thing that can remain masked until it is too late.
The Frankston Serial Killer
by Vikki Petraitis
ISBN : 978-0-9807900-7-8
The riveting and true account of seven horrifying weeks in 1993 when the Australian bayside town of Frankston was terrorised by a series of crimes unlike anything it had experienced before. Vikki Petraitis details the extensive police investigation into three brutal homicides that led to the search for a serial killer, and the effect that his killing spree had on the families involved and the community as a whole. Few cases in Victoria’s history have incited the fear and panic of that winter when a vicious killer was stalking the bayside suburbs. When Paul Denyer was caught, detectives listened for hours while he described the killings in chilling detail and without a shred of remorse. He had coldly ended the lives of three young women, simply because he could.
DANCE WITH THE D EVIL BLACK ICE DANGEROUS DECEPTION DEADLY TIDE UNTIL DEATH
Location, location – for murder
risbane, where I spent most of my childhood, owes a lot of its casual lifestyle to the river that meanders through it. My brothers and I often rode our bikes to Seventeen Mile Rocks, hoping to catch fish, but mostly hooked eels that curled in such slimey knots we’d have to cut the line to get them off. The river played a big part in our growing up, so it wasn’t surprising that when I wrote Fatal Flaw, I would use the river not only as a focus point...
As the impact of what she’d read slowly lessened, Julie turned and looked through the large windows of the restaurant. The city of Brisbane lay in the distance below, the river snaking wide and brown, houses slumbering, highrises clawing into the haze. The islands of Moreton Bay sprawled on the horizon, green smudges between dark blue ocean and pale sky. A serene vista that contrasted acutely with the turmoil of her thoughts. Of all the things she knew her father to be, murderer was unimaginable.
...but as a place where murder was possible:
‘You have three seconds to show yourself before I throw Julie into the river.’ The words froze Mark’s heart. The voice belonged to Harry Lee, and he knew what Harry was capable of. ‘Her hands are tied behind her back. It’s deep water off the edge of these rocks. She’ll go straight to the bottom.’
In some books, the location is generic, the town could be any town, the city any city. But I love to use locations that draw the reader into a world that’s either so different from their own that it becomes as interesting as the plot; or so familiar that they gain a pleasing sense of recognition.
I’ve lived in and visited other Australian states, but my heart belongs in Queensland. I love the steamy tropics, lush rainforests, and reefs teeming with mult i-hued fish, gentle turtles, dugongs and dangerous sharks; the imposing mountain ranges and endless dusty plains with scrubby bushes and droughttolerant eucalypts. Even our cyclones affect me to the degree that my first novel, Dance with the Devil, began in the eye of one.
Stillness gripped the land. An eerie sky seeped sulphurous light through all-pervading grey, hanging low, seeming to suck the air off the earth like some gigantic sponge. The stillness was intense, oppressive. The valley seemed to sink beneath the weight of it, huddling down into itself, pulling in the craggy mountains that reared up on either side. A river that began high in the Great Dividing Range snaked its way down the valley in giant curves, cutt ing neighbour off from neighbour, itself cut by old wooden bridges of the only access road. In one loop of the river, a small homestead sprawled across lush green paddocks and rocky outcrops; the house a lowset Queenslander, aged and neglected. Everything was silent. Emma Randall gradually became aware of water dripping from trees, running down slopes in rivulets, plopping into puddles. She became aware that the body she cradled had become heavy. Not just physically. The burden in her arms was light compared to the burden in her heart.
When I travelled to Carnarvon Gorge in Central Queensland to research my fifth novel, Dangerous Deception, I had certain expectations. There would be the towering cliffs, waterholes hiding elusive platypuses, meandering trails, Aboriginal rock art, strange rock formations – the usual visually breathtaking scenery that makes a tourist attraction so appealing. What I didn’t expect was the emotional and physical impact I experienced not only driving into the Gorge, but visiting sites like the Amphitheatre. I knew these places would become not just locations in which to put my characters, but catalysts for the life-changing events that would occur there.
As they drove closer to the Gorge, it was like they were entering an enormous funnel. There was something primeval about the land here, as though its spirit breathed under the dirt and in the craggy cliffs that drew them with the force of a magnet. Rogan’s pulse quickened. He was not given to flights of fancy, but the feeling that something momentous was going to happen seeped through him. Metres above their heads the rock joined again, the only light coming from the passageway entrance and the opening ahead. Breeanna negotiated the last tricky section, and found her breath catching in her chest as it always did when she walked into the bowl-shaped Amphitheatre.
Most of the floor was covered in tree ferns which had been roped off to prevent visitors from damaging them. Grey silt covered the rocky path around the left-hand side, sloping higher to where two timber benches offered a resting place. Breeanna stopped and gazed upwards. Sheer sandstone walls towered fifty metres high, slanting inwards, creating the effect of gazing up at a cathedral spire. Muted light seeped through the opening as black clouds rolled across the sky. She could feel the walls resonating with the power of nature that had caused the erosion of dirt and stone trapped within these massive vertical faults and forced it out through the narrow passageway to create the area in which they now stood. A church-like hush filled the cavernous area. Breeanna shook off the awe that always gripped her here and turned to Rogan. He, too, had stopped, and the expression on his face, the almost reverential stance of his body, surprised her. She was sure that if she touched him she would feel the vibrations of the earth through his skin.
My forthcoming seventh book, Grievous Harm, goes to parts of Queensland far removed from the Kings Cross cult Kate Maclaren is forced to infiltrate, and the brutal side of Brisbane that sets John Corey on a mission beyond that of his undercover assignment. That mission leads John to find Kate, a woman he comes to love, but it also puts him in a position where he not only has to act against all his moral values, but, in order to save her from an horrific fate, he must destroy any chance of her returning that love. There were scenes in this story that were extremely difficult for me to write because I cared about these characters so much. In a lot of ways the Queensland Outback, as described below, reflected the devastation of body and spirit they both had to endure.
The land surrounding the Duralinga weapons research facility reflected the extremes of temperature the area experienced. Red earth, baked beyond hardness to a layer of dust, gripped the roots of trees stunted and warped by many rainless seasons. A small spur of hills, more rock than dirt and startling in its unlikely emergence from a flat landscape, thrust its craggy escarpments at a cloudless sky.
My books are set all over our wonderful country, not just Queensland, but I hope I’ve been able to give you a taste of my state, the one I love so much.
by Sandy Curtis A city in danger. Thousands will die. What would you sacrifice to save them? Operative Mark Talbert’s father is murdered, the agency he works for has him hunting terrorists, and the only connection is the father of Julie Evans, the woman he loves. Julie’s father has placed her in the hands of a terrorist determined to unleash horror on an unprepared city. She needs someone she can depend on, but can she trust the man she loves? People are dying; people who seem to have nothing in common, until Mark discovers his own father’s involvement in a decades-old crime. A killer is taking a calculated revenge that threatens Mark, Julie, and Julie’s son. Meanwhile the terrorists are making their final move.
coming November 2012
CLAN DESTINE PRESS E BOOKERY
THE DION CHRONICLES:
MAGE HEART FIRE ANGELS ARAMAYA
Intrigue, passion, demons
I had once seen Kitten Avignon. It was on the very day that Michael and I, covered with grit from our long walk east from Moria, had entered Gallia. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever set eyes on. All around us enthusiastic people waved and cheered as she rode by on a huge white horse surrounded by dark clad servants. She sat with straightbacked dignity, smiling and gently waving her fine-boned hand. She was dressed in deep red, and everything about her, from her pure white skin to the red rose in the hat that covered her fair hair, seemed to glow vividly.
ooking back, Mage Heart had its genesis in the TV movie Love Among the Ruins in which Katherine Hepburn stars as a glamorous older actress with a past. I’m not sure I ever saw the movie and if I did I don’t remember what happened, but I remember the ads with Katherine Hepburn’s character in a delicious gown (the movie was set in the Edwardian age) and a really, really big hat of the kind the Edwardians excelled in. Regardless the item of clothing, Hepburn’s character really appealed to me. I remember, as a teenager, announcing that I didn’t want to grow up to be a wife and mother, but to be a famous actress with a thousand ex-lovers. This prompted a friend’s older brother to invite me out, which lead to an early romantic disappointment on both sides. (The less said about that the better.) Sadly I proved not to have the talent or drive to become an actress and, even more problematically, I lacked the emotional makeup to become the woman with a thousand ex-lovers. Aside from the problems of attracting that many partners, they’d have to be discarded pretty quickly to get the numbers into four figures, and I’ve always been fatally soft hearted.
But my fascination with shady ladies has remained strong. My first Dungeons and Dragons character was a courtesan although she was quickly discarded in favor of someone with less subtle skills. And so to Kitten Avignon, adventuress, actress, mistress of the Duke of Gallia, and the character at the centre of my first novel. She’s a combination of Lola Montez, Nell Gwynne and Marilyn Monroe. Kitten is in control of her own life, as most of the great courtesans in real human history were. In Mage Heart, a dark mage from Kitten’s past has caught up with her and is determined to kill her. She has to find a mage who can help her. This brings in the book’s narrator, Dion Holyhands. Writers always put parts of themselves into their books. How egotistical am I? I’ve put in two parts: Kitten Avignon the adventurous femme fatale I’d liked to have been; and Dion, who is anxious, overeducated, inexperienced and painfully shy. In other words my 17-year-old self. Thank God that time’s behind me! The first book follows the relationship between the two women and their struggles to survive Kitten’s stalker. Kitten also becomes Dion’s mentor, guiding her through the rich and corrupt world of the Ducal court as the young mage discovers the extent of her own powers. Along the way there are riots, assassinations, plots, betrayal and love. And of course, there’s romance too.
A tall, dark man was leaning against the wall and looking down at us, at me as I lay sprawled across Rapunzel’s lap, legs all awry, hair coming down. He was the most magnificent and startling creature I’d ever seen. His pale face was lean and hard and beautiful, surrounded by a mane of long black curls. A wicked little half smile played on his full red lips and his large, dark and, God and Angels!, kohl-lined eyes regarded us caressingly. He nodded. “Ladies,” he said softly.
I tried to make Mage Heart a juicy book. The common folk call Kitten Avignon ‘Our Lady of Roses’ (which was also the original title) and I tried to capture the sensuousness of roses – their furled petals, soft as velvet and shiny as silk, the lush way they burst out of their tight buds into a bounty of delicious petals with just the hint of the secret yellow centre. In hindsight it’s probably lucky my original print publisher didn’t allow me to go with my first title. Our Lady of Roses is one of the names for the Virgin Mary – and that may have been a touch inappropriate. And now Clan Destine Press has released Mage Heart and its sequels – Fire Angels and Aramaya – as The Dion Chronicles in eBook form. For the first time, they have covers which evoke the rich sexy atmosphere I wanted to capture. Thank you Daryl Lindquist!
The Dion Chronicles
by Jane Routley
Provincial and naive, and the most powerful mage in the realm, young Dion Holyhands is an innocent adrift in a world of intrigue and treachery; a world where foul, hungry demons lurk just beyond its borders. Dion has been called upon to serve her Duke’s favourite mistress, the extraordinary Kitten Avignon. The courtesan is in dire jeopardy, stalked by a fearsome necromancer who will not rest until she suffers horribly and is destroyed. Shielding the Lady from harm will require all of Dion’s power at a time when her gift is imperilled by blossoming womanhood and dangerous desire. Reunited with the family she left as a child, Dion finds her cherished homeland of Moira overrun by marauding Witch Hunters and dreaded Fire Angels. She realises she must use her powers to save her land and people from the grip of the Great Destroyer. Thrust into a morass of court intrigue, political conspiracy and furious passion, Dion is forced to confront the deadly but seductive world of demons. Ultimately it is her own strength of will, and the pure heart and bravery of the man she loves, that will serve as her only weapons against the arch necromancer who would make her his queen. Fire Angels won the 1998 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. The conclusion to The Dion Chronicles takes the Dion across the ocean to Aramaya, the centre of civilisation, in search of her missing niece, Syndal. Dion and Kitten survive shipwreck to reach Akieva, the glorious capital of decadent Aramaya, where they find Syndal caught in a thrall of necromancy within the magnificent Winter Palace. At the centre of this web lurks Dion’s arch enemy Bedazzer, the ruthless demon who has vowed to possess her – no matter the cost. In the ensuing deadly conflict, Dion must confront the dark secrets of her own heart and the mighty evil concealed in those around her. Aramaya won the 1999 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
AVAILABLE NOW FROM THE
CLAN DESTINE P RESS EBOOKERY
Scarlet Stiletto – both cuts
ed. Sisters in Crime Australia
he Scarlet Stiletto Awards: 17 – going on 18 – years; 1987 entries, 604 stories shortlisted, 17 trophy winners, 127 category awards, 87 special commendations. Why do the Convenors of Sisters in Crime Australia do it? Every year? More importantly – with so many wonderful tales of murder, mystery, mayhem, revenge, justice and just deserts – how did we autopsy such a huge body of writing to choose just 48 stories for our first two publications? Obviously the Scarlet Stiletto winners – 17 First Prize stories by only 13 women – survived the first incision. Further probing, however, told us that some suspects kept turning up in other categories in different years. Second prize winners had won the Malice Domestic; many repeat offenders in the Special Commendation file had escalated to Third Prize or Police Procedural; and some, on serial writing sprees, had turned to a life of Verse or, disturbingly, tried to perpetrate the Funniest Crime. The final line-ups reveal evidence of the twisted, the nefarious, the sinister and dark; but mostly exposes the guilty pleasure of the perfectly executed crime… story. Our investigation into the Scarlet Stiletto Award archives also raised one last question: Why do so many women out there want to get away with murder? ‘Crime and mystery story collections of startling originality; and a grim warning of what evil lurks in Australian suburbia.’ – Kerry Greenwood Cate Kennedy ~ Roxxy Bent Christina Lee ~ Janis Spehr
Category winners: Josephine Pennicott ~ Jacqui Horwood ~ Julie Waight Inga Simpson ~ Ann Penhallurick ~ Margaret Pollock Margaret Bevege ~ Dianne Gray ~ Sarah Evans ~ Kerry Munnery Ronda Bird ~ Phyl O’Regan ~ Bronwyn Blake ~ Liz Cameron Louise Connor ~ Siobhan Mullany Liz Filleul ~ Tara Moss
Scarlet Stiletto 1st Prize winners
Second Cut ISBN: 978-0-9807900-8-5
Amanda Wrangles ~ Eleanor Marney Aoiffe Clifford ~ Eveylyn Tsitas Category winners: available now Kylie Fox ~ Liz Filleul ~ Vikki Petraitis Sarah Evans ~ Ronda Bird ~ Kirstin Watson ~ Jane Blechyden Kerry James ~ Louise Bolland ~ Lois Murphy ~ Lesley Truffle Kristin McEvoy ~ Corinna Hente ~ Rowena Helston ~ Linda Tubnor
Clan Destine Press
is all about genre
Genre fiction in its myriad and wondrous forms: crime, mystery, historical fiction, thrillers, adventure, speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal, steampunk, and ah-ha! – which is any combination of the aforementioned – for Adults, Young Adults and Kids. We publish inventive, clever and original works of page-turning genre fiction; riveting cross-genre stories; and books that are heroic, questy, feral, dark, funny, spine-t ingly, fast-paced, serious, silly and sensible. Our authors are Australian and Clan Destine Press novels are straight, gay, queer, ancient, contemporary, gothic, retro, post-apocalyptic, earthbound and/or galactic. We dabble in non-fiction (true crime and heroic-type real-life stories) but we specialise in genre fiction which – for some strange reason – means we love fictional (& factional) cats, dogs, alpacas, cosmic toucans and Sawtoothed Bunnies. We aim to publish new and exciting, plot-driven, boundary-pushing fiction with fully-fledged characters and a strong sense of place. It is the prime objective of Clan Destine Press to uncover, foster and promote new Australian genre writers and to provide a home where already-published authors can cross-over and dabble in new worlds. Paperbacks & eBooks direct from Clan Destine Press www.clandestinepress.com.au Paperbacks from all good bookshops Kindle eBooks from Amazon Booksellers contact our distributors: ABG Australian Book Group firstname.lastname@example.org
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www.clandestinepress.com.au crime historical fantasy speculative fiction science fiction urban fantasy true crime memoir adventure thriller horror cats
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