Shiver Me Timbers!

I said I had big news. This is it.

My middle grade (age 9-14ish) trilogy, all about fantastical pirates and monsters, has just been officially accepted for publication by Odyssey Books.

The first book is called THE MONSTER APPRENTICE, and will be launched in February 2018 (in time for Goulburn ComiCon).

It’s set in a fantasy world called “Rahana” which I invented seventeen years ago. It’s like Narnia, with pirates.

I wrote the first draft of THE MONSTER APPRENTICE in a New Zealand backpacker in Christchurch when I was twenty-two. I know exactly how old I was because I had just scraped into the upper age bracket for the Young Endeavour Sail Training Vessel (doing writerly research for STORMHUNTER).

I’m thirty-five now, but this is a pic of me at twenty-two on board the Young Endeavour, with New Zealand in the background. The character of Captain Sol in the story was inspired by the tales told by one of the navy staff on the boat (taken and altered with her permission).


Oh, how I love research!

So it turns out Louisette’s pirate outfit last weekend was extremely appropriate.

People who’ve known me a long, LONG time will know that STORMHUNTER, the first book in my young adult magical pirate trilogy (also Rahana), was accepted for publication a while ago, but that particular publisher isn’t running any more. The story is here and here.

This is the closest I get to non-fictional piracy these days:



I really haven’t changed all that much after all.

I’ll start reading THE MONSTER APPRENTICE aloud to Louisette this evening. (Finally, a book of my own I can read to her!) Five year-olds are a tough crowd, so I expect I’ll be doing some more editing based on her reactions.

If you can’t wait until February, I have a definitely-not-suitable-for-children pirate game called SCARLET SAILS already on sale (and the beginning is free) here. Or you can search for “Scarlet Sails Hosted Games” on your favourite app store.



Whatever & Ever Amen

My “Big Idea” post is now live on John Scalzi’s blog. I talked about Australia, and what it means to me to set my steampunk tales in my own beautiful, deadly, complicated country.

At Conflux, and then again today at the Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk & Victoriana Fair, I was talking to a lot of people about Australia, and what it means to be Australian (both good and bad). I like my “Big Idea” article more and more. It articulates things that have been hard to figure out in my own head.

Today was a glorious day; my third year as a stallholder at the top-notch Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk & Victoriana Fair. Every year is better than the one before, and the organisers and volunteers are truly excellent (smart, capable, efficient, cheerful, and exceptionally well-dressed).

I sold a large pile of books to various people, which is guaranteed to make me happy—but the most encouraging part was how many people had bought my book last year and come back for more. I knew going in that people would come and tell me if they didn’t like it… and not a single person did. It was all hugs and puppies (literally; there was some excellent dog cosplay this year—with live dogs).

One of the great things about this particular fair is that it really is for all ages. It’s a gorgeous picnic-by-the-river setting, the steam engine itself is fascinating (the kids came home begging for more info on how steam engines work, so we’ve been watching YouTube educational videos), and there’s face-painting, food, and a playground. Plus of course dress-ups. Apparently dress-ups are not just for grown-ups.

Seriously, the outfits at the Goulburn Fair are to die for. This lady is Angelina Tran:


This year, like last year, Tara Moss herself came to wander about, talk to her many delirious fans, let people take photos of her every one-and-a-half steps, and to also enjoy the fair. Here are my hasty from-behind-my-stall-as-she-walked-past photos of her in her clockwork dress:

Last year I spoke to her for about three seconds and was so startled by her utter warmth it actually threw me. This year I knew what I was in for and so I… well, talked to her a little. She is a smart and fascinating woman (as well as being a model and rather excellent author). She is also someone who devotes a lot of her time to helping others. Not only is she a world-famous author, she’s one I happen to like to read (I avoid her crime but read her fantasy, since my own inclinations bend that way).

Gallery Serpentine was there this year and is also likely to return next year (if only because I’ll be calling them with my measurements in advance of the fair—they are the best quality corset makers in NSW, in my opinion).

Plus loads of music, dance, the crew of the Airship Sirius, a petting zoo, a teacup ride, and lots more that I missed because people kept buying my book!

The Waterworks engine is the one featured in my first book trailer (and it’ll appear in the third, too).

PS I have some big news which I’ll share soon. People on my mailing list will find out today. If you want to be on the mailing list, email with the subject line “MAILING LIST”.

Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk & Victoriana Fair

…is awesome. I’ll be there in a few hours. Ditto Tara Moss. And Gallery Serpentine (excellent corseteers). And dancers. And makers. And lots of people in simply glorious steampunk attire. Also the waterworks steam engine, which featured in my first book trailer.

The event page is here, and the regular page (still for the fair) is here. It’s on every year in mid-October and I have no intention of missing a year anytime soon.

I forgot to hold pics in reserve and I need to get ready asap, so here’s Ana to keep you amused.



PS Why yes I shall be wearing the epic purple tutu today.


One of the blogs I like is, the site of Big-Time Scifi Author & Generally Pretty Decent Human Being John Scalzi.

Feel free to go take a look at his blog and/or writing. I’ll wait. Oh, and go ahead and read the comments. His readers are smart and interesting and polite (thanks in large part to his Mallet of Loving Correction).

John likes cats, bacon, pictures of sunsets, and weirdo liberal ideas like “women are human” and “poor people aren’t poor because they’re bad”. He also lets other authors trample all over his blog a couple of times a week, talking about the “Big Idea” that turned into their latest novel. I get a lot of my book recommendations that way.

This week it will be my turn to talk about the Big Idea behind SILVER AND STONE (which, incidentally, is now on sale pretty much everywhere). I’m deliriously excited.

When my own Big Idea post goes live, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, hello and welcome to John Scalzi fans that have clicked through to my corner of the internet. Here is my cat, who I’m sure would be a very gracious hostess if she wasn’t a cat.


I finished a chunk of writing and sent it off to editors today, so my world is full of smiles and sunshine. And how are you?

Conflux 13: Day 4

I have only the haziest recollections of today, the shortest day of the conference.

There was the dealer room (taken here in a quiet moment):


There was food (this is the asparagus and avocado salad with optional chicken):

(That’s right. I ate salad, y’all.)



There was much cheering, especially at the launch of the Never Never Book Box:

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I should probably mention that (a) The conference was buzzing with the book box love, and (b) I’m friends with the curator (she’s technically a work friend but we have even more than writingness in common). (c) The Never Never Book Box is closely linked to Odyssey through friendship, casual work, and most of all through the fact that both have an enduring love of Australian speculative fiction.

So that’s Conflux done until 2018. I had an absolute blast. I also broke a nail carrying a box of my own books. I feel like that’s some kind of metaphor, but it’s best not to examine it too closely.

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Conflux 13: Day 2

It’s 7:05pm as I begin writing, bleary-eyed and rocking a banquet-sized hunger (in related news, the official Conflux 13 banquet begins in twenty-five minutes).

First things first: after a panicked search and paying a suitable bribe to Miss Five, I have the GOOD tiara, and have been wearing it all day.

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I’m also wearing an epic purple tutu, and wings. It’s possible glitter and craft glue are involved.

(There are brass lamps and circular patterns in the foyer/bar/restaurant. It is shiny, and the perfect accidentally-steampunky venue for my launch of “Antipodean Queen 2: Silver and Stone” tomorrow at 2pm in the JFK room.)

Note to self: Take pictures. Promise to show them to people who read tomorrow’s blog.

I extremely enjoyed being on the “Beyond the Hunger Games: Best young adult books in the last twelve months” panel. My personal top picks (based on personal taste + genius):

  1. “Borderline” and “Phantom Pains” (Books 1 and 2 of the Arcadia Project) by Mishell Baker.
  2. “Goldenhand” by Garth Nix (Book 5 of the Old Kingdom…er… trilogy).
  3. “Songlines” by Carolyn Denman (Book 1 of the Sentinels of Eden series).
  4. “Salvage” by Martin Rodereda.
  5. “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo, which I am reading now (in preparation for the panel…oops).

I adored the panel on Steampunk Martial Arts by Laura E. Goodin, Madeleine D’Este (yes, her again), Aiki Flinthart, and Rik Lagarto. I could listen to any of those people on any topic, but that was just fantastic. I especially enjoyed Laura and Rik’s humour, and Aiki’s knowledge of unusual weapons (hampered only by my knowledge that everyone will know I’ve stolen the ideas from her), such as the flexible sword word as a belt.

I lied about being in the Dealer Room most of the day. There are so many Odyssey authors this year that I wandered off to other places so me and my tutu could stop sweeping over book displays and toppling posters.

Skirts. They’re dangerous.

Photos tomorrow.