Thursday, 31 July 2014

New Release Science Fiction/Steampunk - A Study in Temperance by Ichabod Temperance

This weeks Fantasy Sci-Fi Network new release offering is a steampunk science fiction, the 4th in the 'The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance' series, released on the 22nd of May 2014...

'Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialised Western civilization during the 19th century. Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream use, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk perhaps most recognisably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.' Wikipedia.

A Study in Temperance

by Ichabod Temperance

"'Twas the hand of fate that brought Miss Plumtartt and me together, for, in truth, we have been happenstance-stricken and adventure prone ever since." -Ichabod Temperance, For the Love of Temperance.

Such is the case once again as Ichabod Temperance and his lady love, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, are hurled into adventure and mystery. This time, they return to Persephone's ancestral estate in England, where they hope to enjoy a much-needed vacation. However, fate has other plans for the young couple, as a series of murders close in upon the innocent pair. A notorious Victorian Era London detective assists the plucky protagonists through a tangled web of intrigue involving an incredible cast of suspicious characters.

What Readers Have to Say About the Series

"I call this book monstrously amusing, quirky, charming, and just a heck of a lot fun. 5 Fireballs!" 5 Stars
"The author has accomplished books with most pleasant characteristics, characters that are charming and easy to warm up to, funny and intellectual, prodigious in their minds and delicate in their manners." 5 Stars

 Other Installments in 'The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance' Series

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

An Excerpt to Wet your Appetite

Clip-Clop. Clip-Clop. Clip-Clop. Clip-Clop.
This is the sound of the horses' hooves on the pavement as our magic pumpkin pulls forward at a trot.
“I hate to let you open the door for Miss Plumtartt, sir,” I say to the epaulette clad outdoor host. “I prefer to do that myself.”
“Oi suhtainly caun't blames ye for that, suh,” replies the magnificent old doorman. “'ow-ever, as Oi shall be holding the door, you sir, shall enjoy the privilege of assisting the beautiful young woman into the carriage with your own lucky hands then, eh?” says the charming gent with a wink.
“Hey! That sounds really good to me, sir. Thanks!”
Just as Miss Plumtartt steps inside the carriage, enormous hat and all, my doorman acquaintance gets a shocked look upon his mug as his jaw drops open and his eyes grow as large as tea saucers.
An itchy tingling just inside the base of my skull tells my body to drop and duck. My instincts have already asserted themselves upon my body of their own free will before there is a chance for a thought to pass between my ears.
That is fortunate; otherwise, a giant blade of steel would have passed between my ears as it cleaved my head in twain.
I narrowly escape the blow of a tremendous, broad-bladed scimitar as it smashes into the carriage where my head was innocently awaiting. My failed cranial bifurcation attempt came from a most outrageously appointed chap. He wears the split-toed boots of an Auriental secret assassin. He complements this with the voluminous pants of the Arabian Peninsula, the shirt of the buccaneer and the war paint of the American Indian. It is the India Indian head-dress that adorns his head. This is a wound up pile of shiny yellow cloth. I think it is referred to as a “Ture-bahn.”
At this moment, he is trying to free his big Eastern weapon from where it has become stuck in the woodwork of the Landau.
I avail myself the opportunity to offer defence of myself since this fellow apparently means to do me harm. My uppercut starts from the cobbles and does not end until it is well past the point of contact with my not so chummy friend's chin.
It is unfortunate that I am unable to stop his mate from kicking me in the ear. As I am spun away from the carriage by the blow I see that my first intruder has several mates. They are all dressed in the same manner as the first, or at least to a certain extent. One wears the over the knee boots of some idealized fantasy pyrate below his Nipponese armor and Cherokee Indian head dress. Their chum has his head wrapped in black cloth but for a thin strip of exposure along the eye line.
“Hear, hear! Behave yourself, you rascal!” insists my doorman friend as he clobbers one Bucca-neenja with a stout clout. It angers me to no end to see him rewarded with a returning blow that sets him heavily to the pavement.
I try to cover up and roll with the punches and kicks that rain down upon me. Miss Plumtartt reappears in the Phaeton's door to thwack a fellow with all her might utilising her parasol, but before she can get in more than a couple of strikes, another of the bandits has entered from the opposite side of the carriage and placed a hand over her lovely face. This hand contains a folded handkerchief that I surmise is soaked in chloroform since Miss Plumtartt's eyes immediately begin a furious fluttering and then close altogether as she slumps and is pulled back into the buggy.
Another devilish dervish has mounted to the box. With a hysterical war cry, he callously flings the poor cabman from his perch, and takes up the reins. The fresh chauffeur whips the brace of horses that rear up in fear and panic and then break into an immediate gallop. The ruthless kidnap gang, one with a parting kick in the face to me, then board their stolen carriage and fly away down High Holbern, headed into the fashionable Western districts.
They haven't got far before I am up and making pursuit. They've got Perse... I mean, they've got Miss Plumtartt!
I will never catch those frightened horses on foot. I cast about to see if I can procure alternative transport.
There, across the street, I think I spy what I require. A Hansom cab driver is just finishing the rewinding process for the spring of his mechanical horse. He has just finished struggling to get the last few clicks of a final rotation on the turn key and is in the process of removing the shaft of this long key from the upper intersection of the creature's hind quarters when I unceremoniously knock him out of the traces. I lower the tail, disengage the safety lock and then pull the releasing lever.
Climbing up on the driver's platform behind the cart, I take up the reins and work out the mechanics of engagement. Two hand levers present themselves with linkage travelling down and to either side of my spring-loaded Palomino. Where the one on my right extends upward through the coachman's platform through a metal plate. This plate has channels fashioned into it in the shape of a capitol 'H'. At this time, the rod that extends through it is in the centre beam. I push the left hand lever forward and then follow by manoeuvring the opposite lever to the left and forward to the top of the 'H''s high left position. I allow my left hand to ease back into its former state. The horse accepts the command and moves into a walk.
Clink. . Clonk. . Clink. . Clonk. . Clink. . Clonk. .
Clink. . Clonk. . Clink. . Clonk. . Clink. . Clonk. .
“C'mon Bessie, pick it up a little. We're in a hurry,” I always wanted to try driving one of these, but not under these circumstances.
My pleas of a faster pace fall on deaf, brass ears.
The dastards are getting away with Miss Plumtartt! I need to quickly work out the controls of this engineered equine.
Perhaps a pull directly downward upon the ratio engagement lever in conjunction with the left lever will encourage the golden girl into a trot.
That's a little better, but I need a lot more.
So far my mechanical instincts are working pretty well. My next move will be to push the spring's 'holder' with my left while I shove the spring engagement ratio rod forward halfway, across the bar and then forward again to the top of the 'H''s high right quadrant.
With the engagement of this mechanism, the cadence of my steed takes on a three part synchronisation and a dramatic increase in speed.
Clinkety-Clonk! Clinkety-Clonk! Clinkety-Clonk!
Clinkety-Clonk! Clinkety-Clonk! Clinkety-Clonk!
Now that my friend Flicker is moving with a purpose, I concentrate on how to control her directions. The regular pull of the reins to the left and right seems to do the trick.
We're making better time, but it ain't enough by a long shot. I have one more stage of increasing my pace to work through. I hope I can control this brass beauty. We are already moving faster than the rest of London's traffic and it is all I can do to control this clockwork charger, but I gotta do, what I gotta do.
I engage the next acceleration level. TinBiscuit achieves full gallop stage.
Clinkety!-Clonkety! Clinkety!-Clonkety! Clinkety!-Clonkety!
Clinkety!-Clonkety! Clinkety!-Clonkety! Clinkety!-Clonkety!
Clinkety!-Clonkety! Clinkety!-Clonkety! Clinkety!-Clonkety!
I fight to keep this steel stallion from crushing my fellow London traffickers. I have limited luck in this regard. Other carriages seem to be standing still as I fly past, with Scout's hooves kicking up sparks from her steel moccasins' fleeting contact with the London cobblestones. Women scream, children chase and men look on disapprovingly as blue helmeted bobbies blow their whistles and shake their truncheons at my reckless passage.
Now I can see the pirate infested Hansom kidnap carriage! As they see me in return, they, too, increase their speed.
The wide axles of the Hansom cab I pilot catches another carriage and nearly capsizes us. Miraculously we remain upright and continue the chase, but that was a near thing.
{ ! } {I think I've got an idea.}
I climb over the roof of the cab and lower myself down the front until my feet rest on the wooden gate. I turn to leap out and onto the horse itself. Kicking the linkages loose from either side of her flanks, I draw my Bowie knife and cut the traces loose that bind this horse to its burden. The hansom takes a terrible tumble as it is freed from behind us and I now ride Silver bare back.
Her bridle is all that remains of Beetlebaum's former garments. It'll have to do for keeping me aboard and controlling this mighty mare. Okay, I need to figure out quickly how to control this wonder from this position. For the most part she operates like a standard horse, responding to the normal manner of horse commands with bridle reigns and heel encouragements. My 'giddy-ups', though, are pretty much called in vain. So far we have not done too much damage to fellow street travelers, but riding this horse is a bit like trying to pilot a charging rhinoceros.
I am gaining on the fiends! I can now make an accurate assessment of my adversaries. I can see two of the banshees up front, perched upon the box in control of the calamitous carriage. Two more villains cling to the back luggage boards and there is presumably a fifth member of these insidious criminals inside the compartment with the delicate Miss Plumtartt at their cruel mercies.
The fellows in the rear attempt to dissuade my efforts. The first wears a black silk sash about the top half of his face. The disguise comes down over his nose and leaves the rest of the face open. Two eye holes have been cut to allow vision. He puts a short tube to his mouth. His body language indicates that he has taken in a great breath of air and forcefully expelled it into the tube. I hear a slight tink and see where a tiny dart has been embedded within Trigger's ear. The dread pirate robber's partner reaches into a wide sash that is tightly bound around his waist. He has retrieved something that I cannot see. He draws his right hand back across his body, turning his right shoulder to me. He then violently flings his arm toward me in a backhand manner. I get a momentary flash of silver as several steel objects are hurled in my direction. Hugging the horsie's neck and trying to gain cover on the opposite side, I hear a whining buzz pass overhead as a stinging sensation touches my right upper arm. I see where there is torn fabric there. There is also a small thud. Sitting back up, I see a metal object stuck into my horse's flank. This is a heavy flat of steel, approximately three and a half inches across. It is cut and fashioned into the shape of a multi-pointed sun, or star. The weight and razor sharp points allow it to be flung, and thus utilised as a throwing weapon.
The driver makes as if he is going to leave the wide thoroughfare, but then makes a last minute course correction in an attempt to shake me from pursuit. I am becoming more adept at the handling of my chevalier and have the advantage in manoeuvrability. No matter what the fiends try, I stay with the maddened marauders.
Our wild chase has led us up New Oxford Street. The buildings and homes become steadily more fancy as we progress. Our progression comes to a swift conclusion as we are met by the unavoidable obstacle of the entire roadway being in an upheaval due to subterranean railway construction.
My carriage driving counterpart has pulled his team of horses hard to the right while simultaneously engaging the brake. The carriage impossibly turns sideways, going into an uncontrollable slide as the insane driver whoops in crazed exuberance. They smash sideways into a pile of unearthed cobbles and dirt.
I am jealous. His stunt was actually the product of some rather admirable driving skills. I have no such luck with my little pony. I neutralise the drive, pull in the reins, and do everything I can to get Petunia to sit down. With sparks flying in all directions from her fiercely resisting hooves of her locked out front legs, and cobble riding rear end, Man o' Woe and I inexorably slide towards the open ditch until we are unavoidably flung off and out into open space.
With her four spring driven legs madly scrambling at the all too thin air, the flying mechanical wonder horse gives an inhorsian 'neigh!' in a chilling whinny of terror before slamming into the freshly laid, wide rail tracks. This difficult landing is followed by an explosion of innumerable springs, gears, shafts, rods and a gazillion other pieces.

 About the Author

Ichabod Temperance
"Like the protagonist in A Matter of Temperance, I am an Alabama knockabout. In my 49 years, I've been a punk rock drummer, a construction worker, a wrestling referee, a sushi chef, an inveterate tinkerer, and a long-time martial arts enthusiast. I've been an avid reader since I could barely walk, but never did I dream of putting pen to paper until I performed stunt work on the soon-to-be-released Steampunk indie film, "Engines of Destiny." As a result of meeting these welcoming, generous people, I fell in love with the Steampunk genre and world. After joining The Steampunk Empire, I suddenly began to write, and I couldn't stop. Ichabod and Persephone (and a cast of really nasty monsters and minions) became real people to me, and their story had to be told. I am currently working on a sequel."

Available from;
Ick-Ick at Barnes and Noble


See more from Ichabod;

Ichabod on Facebook
Ickster on Goodreads
Ickety on twitter
Icky on 'The Steampunk Empire'
A Blog of Temperance

The Fantasy & Sci-Fi Network is a collection of authors, bloggers, and reviewers who are passionate about finding and creating quality fantasy/sci-fi books which are also teen safe (G, PG, or PG-13 rated). The FSF Network believes it is possible to create fantastic works of fantasy and science fiction without resorting to graphic violence, explicitly harsh language, or sex.

FSFN on Facebook
FSFN Website
Twitter hashtag: #FSFNAuthor
Twitter handle: @FSFNet

Monday, 21 July 2014

New Release Fantasy - Creatures of Snow by Teresa Carlson

Looking for a good YA fantasy? Need an escape?

Beware the place where soul meets sky, where furies lurk and brave men die...

Teresa Carlson's first book, Creatures of Snow was released on the 26th of June 2014 and is a fantasy thriller that adults of all ages can enjoy. It is book 1 of the Snow series.

Just the stories of the Snow are generally enough to ward off anyone crazy enough to think about crossing the line between this reality and the next. Stories about the twisted, hateful creatures that lived there, and the heroes that never came home after meeting them. It is an awful place, a place people just aren’t meant to go.
Skyden Reagan, a boy with little ambition (but a lot of nerve), has never given a thought to the Snow or the realities beyond it. At least, not until his school chooses him for a program that wants to send him right into the heart of it – all for the sake of scientific exploration.

If that was his only problem, he might be able to handle it, but, between assassins made of shadow, galactic upheaval, ancient prophecies, being partnered with a girl that hates him, and finding out his estranged brother is part of a secret organization that wants to kill him…he’s got a little more to worry about then just surviving the Snow.

What Readers are Saying;

'This novel oozes style, imagination and mystery. It illuminates emotional and intellectual qualities seldom found in a first novel.' 5 Stars

 'A well written original story, I recommend to Y/A as well as Adult readers who enjoy fantasy/thrillers.' 5 Stars

Exclusive Book Excerpt - from Chapter 11


     Sky made his way down the path towards his home. The ship was gone from the back lot as it had been for the last week. His dad’s latest job was gonna keep him away for at least another day, just as Joshua had said.
Something shifted just beyond the light of the trail. He stopped, holding his breath to listen, but there was nothing but the wind. He knew the woods, and he knew there wasn’t any real danger, so he had no choice but to laugh it off.
The front door creaked open in its usual protest, as he slumped into the entryway.
He threw his wav-com onto a nearby crate and jumped as the clank of the metal against wood reverberated through the silent house. He didn’t know why he was so on edge. No, that was a lie. He was a creature of habit and his body was programmed to be anticipating a fight. Al had certainly been right about that.
Loosening his tie he made his way up the stairs. Routine had always made life in a habitually empty house more bearable. First on his agenda was to ditch the stiff uniform and find the kind of clothes that you would only dare to wear in your own home.
At the top of the stairs he was greeted by a narrow hallway gaudily decorated with seemingly hundreds of pictures, statues and printed decor of adorable animals. Never in his years had they ever owned or talked about owning a pet. He assumed this was Ixanna’s not so subtle way of telling them that they should.
He paused as a moment of alarm swept a chilly hand up his spine. Something felt off, but nothing looked out of place. He walked silently down the hall. The air around him seemed different; the smell, the weight, something just wasn’t right. His heart began to beat in his ears and grew louder with each passing step. Something dark caught his eyes, his head swung left and he found himself greeted by his own reflection. Letting out the breath he’d been holding he scolded himself for being so paranoid. This is what Arche training did to you.
He stared into the elaborately carved mirror, decorated with paw prints of all shapes and sizes. Leaning over the narrow desk he got a better look at his darkened reflection. He looked angry, or was he scared? Neither emotion seemed right. He had come home to relax.
A sound echoed in the darkness and his head snapped to the right. He searched the shadows, looking with more than his eyes. Maybe, he wasn’t being foolish. No, he was certain he wasn’t. This time he had heard something for sure and grabbed the heaviest looking cat sculpture he could find. Clenching his jaw he forced his legs to carry him forward.
He barged into his own room, the metal sculpture of the cat raised high above his head. His room was as he left it - bed unmade, a heap of cloths in the corner, and the desk covered in dishes and piles of notebooks.
Something crashed into Sky from behind and sent him flying into the room. He spun around just in time to see a blur of a figure come barreling into him once again, hitting him square in the guts. His only means of defense flew out of his hand and clattered uselessly to the floor, well out of reach. As he doubled over a hand came up and caught him under the jaw. In a sea of stars his head snapped back and he found himself on the ground as the world shifted in and out of focus above him.
The dark outline of his attacker loomed over him; it swayed back and forth in time to an unheard rhythm. Black robes that blended seamlessly into the shadows covered the intruder and flowed in a soft ripple, as if being blown by an invisible wind.
“Creepy.” He muttered and forced himself to focus. Gritting his teeth, he leapt to his feet, catching his attacker by surprise.
He took a sloppy swing that was easily dodged, but that was only meant to distract the intruder from the real punch that whipped up from the opposite arm. He felt his fist connect, but there was no give in the flesh he hit.
He let out a brief cry of surprise and pain, then grabbed his throbbing hand. “Who are you?” He growled, trying to straighten up and be intimidating.
They faced each other in the small room. He calmed his ragged breath and hoped the sweat that was building up below his hairline wouldn’t give away his fear. He couldn’t read his opponent - try as he might; he couldn’t see the intruders face under the oversized hood and swirl of shadows. If he had to guess at who he was fighting, his best guess would be the boogieman. There was no way this guy could be real.
Is this a test? He wondered desperately. He wouldn’t put it past Con to pull something like this.
The figure lunged towards him without a sound. Sky instinctively protected his aching hand by thrusting a kick into the chest of his attacker that resounded in a hollow thud. To his own surprise, the kick sent the figure back into the opposite wall where Sky’s collection of souvenir bottles crashed down upon the intruder in a kaleidoscope of colors, textures and scents.
In the brief disturbance Sky found his legs and ran. His wav-com was down by the front door, if he could get to it and make it outside he would be fine. The woods around their home were a dense mass of foliage covering a treacherous terrain and no one knew them better then him.
His foot landed awkwardly just before he reached the door, sending a shrill of pain up his leg and into the pit of his stomach. It was only a moment of hesitation before he regained his stride, but in that moment, long, slender fingers had found their way around his shoulder. His back hit the ground before he realized he’d been thrown down and a weight pressed down on his chest with enough force to squeeze out whatever air was left in him.
“You.” The figure hissed, holding him firmly down with a shiny black boot. “You’re no hero.” The voice was distorted and rough, nearly unintelligible. “There are no heroes here.” The voice was louder this time, but no less distinguishable.
He realized the voice was in his head.
The weight upon his chest was relieved and the dark figure slowly backed away. “There are no heroes.” It hissed.
 On shaking legs, Sky forced himself upright. He tried to judge the distance to the door, it was still his best option. “I’m not trying to be a hero.”
From the figure came a deep, guttural growl. “No heroes.”
A glint of metal caught Sky’s eye as the figure withdrew an old bullet-load gun from inside the folds of the flowing robes.
Sky’s hands shot out in a defensive manner, “Stop!” Desperation had found its way into his voice. “I don’t know what you want.”
A heavy laugh escaped from the shadowy depth of the hood and the figure lowered the gun slightly and straightened. “You will.”
Every cell in his body screamed in that instant to just run, but he found himself frozen to the ground.
If there was an opportunity, it was missed. The figure leveled the gun at him once again and let out a guttural, primal scream that was soon overpowered by the sound of the muzzle blast.

About Author Teresa Carlson


Raised on a healthy diet of Star Wars, The Neverending Story, The Goonies and a dash of Blade Runner, the fascination with other worlds, high adventure, magic and friendship was deeply ingrained from early on.
When reading and watching stories unfold just wasn't enough, she began to write...and never stopped.
In a town that is more lake than land, she settled down to raise her two amazing children alongside her wonderful and supportive husband. Although the ingredients have changed slightly, she still consumes a massive amount of science fiction, fantasy, and other nerd-based dishes on a regular basis.

Available on kindle from Amazon

Follow Teresa’s work on;

Blog (webcomic)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Dreaded Edit - A terrible Chore or The Sculpting of a Masterpiece

So you've finished the first draft of your manuscript and it's time for editing to begin... do you run and hide under your covers hoping the elves will visit during the night and fix the errors? Do you send it on to someone else and let them deal with it? Or do you stare it in the face and refuse to let it beat you?

I don't think editing is anyone's favourite part of the writing process but it doesn't have to feel like a terrible chore either. 

I tend to believe that a good edit is great for the soul. It's where you get to flesh out problems, fix pesky mistakes, cut unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters... (yes I said chapters too) and build on existing ideas that perhaps lack needed depth. It's where YOU as the author get to stand back and evaluate your work and make sure it reads the way you were hoping. After a good edit, reading your work can bring great pride and joy... or confusion as you ask yourself, 'Did I really write this? This is good stuff!'

Now I'm not for one second suggesting that you be the only editor of your work... no, no, no... what I am suggesting is that you start the process, after all this is your baby and you want every opportunity to make it all that you can.

So here are my suggestions on how you can make the most of your own edit before sending it on to someone else:

Edit while you write
You may be racing against the clock when writing the draft but taking a little time to review a chapter you have just finished will help to ensure you have written what you intended, fix any small details and see to it that it flows as you had hoped. If you see problems, fix them while ideas are fresh in your mind. If you notice spelling errors, especially words that are said the same way but have different spellings (homonyms) that Spellcheck will not pick up on, fix them straight away... you may not notice them later. This will give you a head start on your editing when you finish the draft.

Use a notebook to keep track of important information
This is useful at any stage of your writing but I tend to pull the notebook out when doing the first edit. I dedicate a page or two to each chapter to take notes that I can easily check back on when needed. I make notes of people (what they look like, what they wear, personality etc) chronology (What is the order and timing of events? does it make sense?) and the importance of that chapter (What do we learn here? Why do we need it? How does it progress the story?). In a book with 50+ chapters it is possible, that in writing over a 6 month or so period, some details will have somewhat changed or developed, its good to be able to refer back to these details and make sure things remain consistent.

Have the spelling and grammar check on and pay attention to what it highlights
What a great tool we have with Spellcheck! 
Imagine what a long and arduous process it must have been before computers. Eek! Editors had their work cut out for them, pouring over manuscripts littered with errors or in some cases whiteout with a, slightly out of sync, retyped letter. 
But not us in the 21st century! We have computers with spellcheck that underlines problematic words. When we right-click on them it will actually show us some word options. It's marvelous! No need to be an A grade speller, if you have some idea of the word you are trying to convey, it's an easy fix.
Yes spellcheck can be annoying, picking up on words you wrote that way on purpose eg. Ahh! or in my case picking up on words that are spelt the British way (because for me having been taught that way, anything else looks wrong) eg. specialise instead of specialize. Also I have my own world so I use many, many different words and names that are not in the english dictionary. But this is no big deal and I often make the effort to allow my program to learn the word so it won't bother me about it any more. 
So use the spellcheck and pay particular attention to what it brings up... if it’s a mistake, FIX IT. If it's deliberate, either ADD IT to the dictionary or IGNORE IT. As for the green underline for grammatical issues, don't ignore it entirely, read what it advises... it's not always perfect but it may bring a problem to your attention.

Read ALOUD each chapter after editing
Once you complete the chapter you were working on... go back to the beginning of it and read it OUT LOUD (this may not work so well if you have people around you as you edit but I'm assuming you like to edit in peace and quiet or at least without distraction). Reading aloud helps you to slow down the pace, take in word for word and hear the flow. This way you may pick up spelling errors you missed because your eyes had run straight over them and, highlight any awkward sentences. If they are awkward for you to get your mouth around then chances are they will be awkward for your readers to get their mind around. Besides, you want it to sound good read out loud anyway. This will guide you into getting it right.

Rearrange, delete, rewrite, add
Don't be afraid to do what's needed to get the manuscript right. Maybe certain chapters would be better placed in a different order or yes... deleted all together (you'll pick up on this fact when you note the purpose for the chapter) If it is just a fill in for the sake of adding extra padding, it may be better deleted or released as a blog post for fans wanting more. 
Take out unnecessary words or phrases that slow down the pace of the story or rewrite paragraphs that don't convey what you were hoping. You may even find you need to add bits and pieces here and there to ensure congruency or to fill in plot holes. Who knows what you will need to change but you are the best person to determine it since you have a complete understanding of the story. It may mean losing a beloved scene, killing off a good character or revealing something earlier or later than you had planned. Whatever it is, you'll be glad you did it.

Perfect each chapter before moving on
I'm not saying you should expect that each chapter will be perfection, if it were, you wouldn't need to forward it on to an editor. I'm saying get each chapter to a state where you feel happy with it and cannot find any other issues or mistakes... It will then be your editor’s job to find anything else problematic.

DO have someone else with some degree of knowledge of editing, grammar or english literature edit it for you, even if you are an editor yourself. The feedback you get from a differing outlook and unrelated pair of eyes is invaluable. Your edit is just the beginning of the process towards publishing but in no ways do you need to dread it, look it as a journey towards sculpting your masterpiece.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fantasy Alive in a Small Town

Screenshots taken from December 22nd's  
Kitimat Daily Online newspaper.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

O Canada - How I love thee, let me count the ways

Let me start by saying... I am not a Canadian, I'm a fairdinkum Aussie, born and bred. If you asked me what my favourite country was, I would have to say it's Australia... but Of Course!

Having said that though, after living for the last 6 1/2 years in Canada, I can't help but appreciate this fine land and what it offers. So today being the 1st of July, CANADA DAY, I thought would compile a list of things I love about this country.

The Snow

The first time I ever saw snow was in Australia (yes, it can and does snow there, in a few places). It was early in the morning and I woke to my mum running into my room screaming 'It's snowing! It's snowing!' I got out of bed and dressed (in very inappropriate snow attire of pants and a long sleeve skivvy) and ran outside attempting to enjoy what little snow there was covering the ground. I made a very miniature snowman and held a snowball in my hands. My hands were bare (I didn't even own gloves) and my lips were a nice shade of blue as I shivered through a few photos.
Since then I have really come to appreciate the snow. Not that all over Canada it snows big time but in the two places we have lived it snows a ridiculous amount, several feet in a matter of hours is not unheard of.
I was quickly introduced to clearing the driveway, brushing snow off the car windows and driving in the snow all within a matter of weeks after landing in Montreal. The novelty soon wore off and getting up early in the morning to clear snow from the car and drive to get children to school on time became a loathed chore. Having said that, I never stopped appreciating the beauty of watching its slow plummet to the ground.
After moving to Northern British Columbia (B.C) I learned to snowboard and found myself another way to appreciate the snow. Having Skateboarded and surfed as a teen, I quickly picked up the art of balancing on the board but I won't profess to being all that good. I do enjoy the thrill of the ride and the serene snowy beauty that surrounds me.


I absolutely love Canadians...  Okay so I have to say that, some of my best friends are Canadian, but it's true. I've discovered that most Canadians are much like most Australians... easy going, laid back, work so that they can live not the other way around, appreciate their recreation time, can laugh at themselves and have a good sense of humour. It may sound simple but they are perfectly happy just sitting around the barbie (bbq) with mates on a summers day. Just add eh?! to the end of your sentence and you're in. 'You're a Canadian eh?'
Add to this their very warm welcoming nature, they open themselves up to other nationalities of people having an interest in the world outside their own backyard. This is evidenced by the amount they travel, if they haven't travelled the world, it's on their bucket list. Most have at least travelled into the States  numerous times... well why wouldn't you when you have another country just beyond your border? See Proximity

Four Seasons

While most cities in Australia see some form of four seasons during the year, I must say that I haven't quite experienced it like in North America... a real four seasons. In the far North of B.C winters can be very white and seem to last a long, long time. While it is pretty (and as I always say, if it must be cold, it might as well be white), it can lack a bit of colour... the washed out look of winter. Then along comes the spring and as the ground begins to warm, gardens burst alive with a myriad of colour... first the daffodils and tulips and then the many other varieties of plant life open their blooms as a salute to the warm sun. Yes spring happens in Australia too but it is not such a contrast to the winter. It's not white and it's not freezing cold so there's not the same appreciation for the warmth and colour when the spring rocks around. In Quebec where the winters are bitter cold people tend to go into their 'caves' for the majority of it... when the sun comes out and the cold passes, people come out and everybody is walking, running, skating, riding... you name it, they're doing it outside. The summer can be absolutely amazing, in Montreal the summers are hot and glorious... most houses have a pool so everyone is swimming, forgetting that only a month or so prior the pool was a block of solid ice. In Northern B.C it's not as hot but the days are long, with the sun not going down completely until close to midnight. This is my fave part, after the short dark days during the winter, the long warm days are a godsend. Autumn comes in a myriad of fall colours as all the deciduous trees change colour and drop their leaves. Driving through wooded areas in Autumn is just magical as the colours line the roadways. Sure we have Autumn in Oz but our Australian bush does not contain deciduous trees as they are not natural to our country. So you may see the colourful fall in special parks or peoples backyards but not driving along a highway. There it is either green if we've had a lot of rain, brown if we haven't or black if we have suffered a number of bushfires.

Releasing a salmon back into the river


Where Australia might be short on water in most states, Canada is abounding in it. Rivers and lakes make up a good portion of it's beauty and they are everywhere! When living in Montreal, a couple of times we rented a house on a lake complete with paddle boats and canoes. Certainly a relaxing holiday that we could even take the dog. Where we now live, there is amazing salmon fishing (a reason my husband doesn't want to leave) that we are just fortunate to have a five minute drive away. Keen fisherman come here for the summer fishing and we are in the thick of it. While rivers tend to stay icy cold the lakes can be beautiful and warm (at least in spots). It's beautiful and serene and you don't have to go very far to access one.

Bear in our backyard... I called him Barry

The Animals

Okay so if you're from North America you may tend to think the animals I am excited about here are boring and you may instead get excited over kangaroos and koalas, animals that I have seen all my life (and sadly roos I have hit with my car)... don't worry there are more kangaroos in Australia than people.
I am LOVING the animals here that I had only ever seen in books or movies or perhaps a zoo but never on my own street! In Montreal we had a family of groundhogs living under our front porch, seriously a groundhog I had never heard of until I watched that movie Groundhog Day. Our neighbours called them rodents but we just thought they were gorgeous. I think they thought we were crazy. Every now and then I saw a skunk wandering down the street when the rubbish bins (trash cans) were out for collection. I would watch with excitement, hoping it would come a bit closer so I could get a better look (maybe I am crazy). We travelled to Saguenay in the north of Quebec just so I could see a moose at the St Felicien zoo, however I have since seen a number in the wild, two were on our street but I have also seen a couple on the road while driving... and that is absolutely frightening because their coat is dull and doesn't reflect headlights... you don't see them until the last minute. Fortunately we have never hit one... touch wood. I have seen wolves, coyotes, porcupines and deer but my favourite animal to see are bears. Where we live you can see them in our backyard from time to time. While some Aussies would happily live with the spiders and snakes in Australia over having bears in your backyard, I will gladly take the bears instead.


Could Australia be further away from everything? I think not. Australia is kind of out on its own with New Zealand to one side, Indonesia in the north and nothing else other than islands nearby. To get to any other continent, it is far and it is expensive. A lot of Australians only ever get to Bali in their lifetime and that's if they make it overseas at all. As a kid I always dreamed of going to Disneyland but in all honestly thought that I would never ever get there after all I didn't know a single person who had been. When I went the first time, I thought it was a dream come true.
Since living in Canada we have crossed the border to the US a number of times. It was especially easy to do from Montreal as we were only an hour from the border. From that side of the country it was also easy to fly to Europe which we did a couple of times. Okay so Canada is not close to everything but we have been able to do a whole lot more travelling since being here and neigbouring the US is super convenient.

Two Languages

In Australia we pretty much only speak one language. While we have alot of nationalities there, our nations language is english and as a visitor you would have no need for any other, unless you don't speak it. Having a second language was a foreign concept to me. Sure there are plenty of families from other countries that speak another language in the home but most of my friends were either born in Australia or Britain so I didn't know very many people who could speak another language fluently. Then we move to Quebec of all places. In Quebec the first language is french and all road signage and information is in french. Needless to say, I needed to learn quick smart. I had a tutor for a year and my children went to an all french school, where even communication home to parents was in french. It was a little difficult to get used to but I found it even harder to learn properly because the closer you are to Montreal the more people who could speak english as well as french. I would try to speak to people but when they would see I was struggling for words they would speak in english to help me out... which it did help me communicate but not learn the language.  My kids can all speak french and my older two are fluent. I am constantly amazed by this. Even now that we are in B.C we make sure they attend a french immersion school so that they can retain the language they have learnt.

Maple Syrup

I couldn't talk about all the things I love about Canada and not add in something about maple syrup. Before I came here I had only ever had the fake stuff at home (the real stuff was far too expensive for our meager budget) but since being here I have learnt there is only one sort to have and that's the pure and natural syrup from the tree. Delish!
In Quebec just after the winter when the maple starts to pour they open up these places called sugar shacks and oh my what a sweet experience you can have.
Sitting at long communal tables you are fed a meal of bacon, eggs and pancakes with which you pour a whole lot of maple syrup to everything, just like gravy. Then you get yourself a Maple lollipop which is made from pouring hot maple on snow and then rolled up on a paddlepop or icecream stick as it quickly cools. It is sticky and delicious.
While I only went there once I have come to love maple syrup and use it as a sweetener instead of sugar or honey on occasion... and no more fake stuff for me, only the real macoy will do. Hang the expense.

While I truly love living in Canada and appreciate the different places, animals and feel it has, there is something very special about the place you come from and for me a big part of that is the sun and the surf. So I will have to take a leaf out of famous Australian, Peter Allen's book (song actually) when I say 'I still call Australia... home.'