New Release and Supernova

Stone of the Sea

Have you been wondering what the young shapeshifter, Zadeki, and the twins, Delvina and Retza are up to? At the end of October I released the next instalment, novella 3 of the Under the Mountain series. The Crystal Heart may be saved but the people under the mountain are running out of food, while strife and disaster bubble beneath the surface.

 

A desperate journey into the unknown

Food is scarce, the Glittering realms in chaos and solutions fast disappearing.  Twins Delvina and Retza have always stood shoulder to shoulder. Will new challenges pull the twins apart? Will they, and their shapeshifter friend, Zadeki, find food before the people under the mountain starve?

Join Delvina, Retza and Zadeki as once again they face their fears and rescue a realm.

Stone of the Sea is the third novella in the Under the Mountain series. It is set in the world of Nardva.

Start reading it today. Available at Amazon and other retailers.

Start the Journey

If you haven’t started the thrilling adventures under the mountain, don’t worry. For the month of November only, the ebook of Heart of the Mountain & Blood Crystal (the first two novellas) are available for 99c USD each.  Both are also available in print, if that’s your preference.

Supernova Brisbane

Adele Jones, Lynne Stringer and I had a great time at Supernova Gold Coast in April. We will be at the event in Brisbane – in 2 days time – November 9-11 – under the banner of Rendered Realms.  Adele has a fantastic techno-thriller trilogy set in Brisbane while Lynne’s Sci-Fi Verindon triology takes us out of this world. I’ll have my books – tales of Nardva. If you are in the neighbourhood, drop in on our stand (59) and say hello.

 

Other Reads

If you enjoyed reading about Memorable Fathers, I’ve done a couple of guest blogs recently – on food in literature and another on ocean settings.

I usually some of my 5 star reads in my monthly newsletters, along with cover reveals, new releases, giveaways etc.  At the moment, I sending Ruhanna’s Flight: a short story on sign-up.

 

In the pipeline

I’m editing novella 4, Shadow Crystals and the final novella Caverns of the Deep, hopefully for release the end of this year or early next.

My apologies for the delay on Rasel’s Song, the sequel to Akrad’s Children. As I explained in my last post, this has been a intense year. It is coming in 2019 for sure.

And I’ve lined up an interview with Adam David Collings about his space opera Jewel of the Stars for the next post.

I appreciate each one of my readers and hope you enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

Jeanette O’Hagan
November 2018

My Spec-Fic Favs for 2017

What have been your favourite Spec Fic reads in 2017?

This year, I’ve enjoyed the 2017 Popsugar Challenge which spurs me on to read a wide range of books. Even so, I’ve managed to squeeze in quite a few Fantasy and Sci-Fiction books and a few movies as well. So which were the ten I enjoyed the best?

 

  1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Marissa’s Meyer four book Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter) was a fantastic read, so I had high hope for Heartless – the origin story of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. And Meyer didn’t disappoint – Catherine is a wonderful character, as is Jest, the Mad Hatter and others. Meyer does a great job of weaving elements from both Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. The tale has a lot of whimsy and humour and is compelling – though inevitably, it leads to a sad ending. My full review here.

2. The Martian by Andy Weir

For something entirely different, I managed to see the movie and read the book of this popular sci-fi tale. Told primarily through the stranded astronaut’s journal (with some scenes back on earth inserted), I loved the freshness of the story, the meticulous research in conditions on Mars, the reality of space flight, the logistics and possibilities involved. Weir makes math sound cool – which is awesome. But primarily The Martian was a human story, a story of not giving up and beating the odds. My full review here.

3. The Fated Sky by E M Swift-Hook

The Fated Sky is the first in the Transgressor’s series by E M Swift Hook – when Avilon’s space ship crash lands on the high plateau of a backward and forgotten planet at the rim of the galaxy, he is captured and catapulted into the complicated and often deadly politics of Temsevar. Told through multiple points of view, Swift-Hook does a marvellous job of bringing the planet and the characters to life. An intriguing start to the trilogy. My review is here.

4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi includes magical realism – young Pi’s family decides to sell their Zoo and move to Canada. When the ship sinks in the storm, Pi (Piscine Molitor Patel) is trapped on life boat with Richard Parker (a Bengal Tiger), an injured zebra,  orangutan,  and a hyena. The ensuring struggle for survival is gripping – with moments of desperation, terror and wonder – and a startling twist at the end that leaves you with questions of what is real. My review is here.

5. The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead

The Skin Map is the first book in the Bright Empires series. It combines time travel, alternative earths, ley lines, heroes and dastardly villains in a rollicking adventure. Kit Livingstone meets his long lost grand-father Cosmo, and finds himself pulled into the quest to find the skin map and to thwart the villainous Lord Burleigh and his men. The narrative moves around in time and place, with real danger but also recreates Restoration London (1666), 17th century Prague, 18th Macau and ancient Egypt in loving detail. While the pace is at times leisurely, I found the story immersive and enjoyable to read. I’m up for the next in the series, The Bone House.  My review is here.

6. Planet Woman by Judith Rook

Planet Woman looks at human colonisation in a distance planetary system that included sentient planets. When a threat is detected, the Planet Circe sends for an envoy from (non-sentient) First Home. Tethyn Claibrook-Merjolaine is none too pleased when she has to entertain the commanding and arrogant envoy, Lewis Brock, First Peer of the ancient Haute-Forêt family. But larger threats and dangers are in motion. This is the first book in a series and has a number of subplots. Despite some frustrations with the story-telling, it was one of those stories that left me thinking about it long after I’d read it. My review here.

7. Welcome to the Apocalypse (Pandora 1) by D L Richardson

D L Richardson’s Welcome to the Apocalypse is a wild ride.  Kelly Lawrence, Jack Minnow and Reis Anderson have special tickets to try out the immersive, virtual reality game, The Apocalypse Games,  in which players are pitted against one of a range of imagined end-of-earth scenarios – from Zombies, Alien Invasion, Clowns, Global Pandemic and so on. In theory the game lasts for 24 hours, but on this debut run something goes terribly wrong and the players are trapped in apocalypse scenario after apocalypse scenario with no contact with the outside world. What I loved about the book was Richardson managed to keep each scenario fresh and that it was as much (if not more) about the inner battles of the main characters. The ending was a little abrupt – but I look forward to reading the next in the series Welcome to the Apocalypse – Cybernexis (which has been nominated for a Ditmar prize). My review is here.

 

8. Jewel of the Stars: Earth’s Remnant by Adam David Collings

Jewel of the Stars: Earth’s Remnant is Episode 1 of Season 1 of a novella series set in space. Jewel of the Stars is a cruise liner that travels the stars, until a sudden and catastrophic invasion leaves the ship cut off from the rest of humanity and heading for unknown space to avoid certain death. Collings sets up the story and introduces an number of main characters while delivering on suspense and an exciting finish. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. The only hitch is the wait for the next episode to be published. My review is here.

 

9. Futurevision  edited by Delia Strange

Twenty Aussies authors views of the future – 20 speculative fiction story, Futurevision is a wonderful collation of local talent with a range of stories from science-fiction, fantasy, horror – some full of suspense or adventures, some funny, while most leave you thinking. My own space opera ‘Rendezvous at Alexgaia’ is included. My favourites included Nola Passmore’s ‘One Hundred Words’ (what if all electronic communication was restricted to 100 words?), Duncan Richardson’s ‘Profile’ (what if our participation in society depends on our digital imprint?) and  Sophie L MacDonald’s God and the Machine (what does it mean to be human?) My review here.

10. Tales from the Underground by Inklings Press

Another great anthology with talented writers – in this case stories that take place in the dark places under the earth – in caves, caverns, mines, tunnels and cellars.  My story is a prequel for the Under the Mountain series (Heart of the Mountain, Blood Crystal, Stone of the Sea, Shadow Crystals) – though is darker more thriller or horror than adventure.  I particularly loved Rod Edwards fabulous story of fairy with ‘Lords of Negative Space’, Claire Buss whimsical ‘Underground Scratchings’ with a lovely twist at the end, and the riveting ‘Beasts Above’ by Lawrence Harding.

and a bonus – Elven Jewel by Kasper Beaumont

Right at the cusp between old and new year, I finally read Kasper Beaumont’s Elven Jewel – the first in the Hunters of Reloria series. Despite some occasional hitches in style, it was an enjoyable read – with halflings, bond fairies, dwarves, elves, dragons, goblins, trolls, giants, reptilian invaders and rollicking adventures, a touch of romance and a few tear-jerking moments. My full review here.

As for movies

  1. The Last Jedi

It’s no secret that Star Wars fans are divided about the latest offering. I went to see it with my family on my birthday – and loved it. Okay, not perfect – it had some gross moments and maybe occasionally heavy-handed – but on the whole it keep me glued to screen, and just when I’d think the story was an echo of earlier films, it would subvert or turn it. Some spectacular visual moments, and loved the ending.

2. Twice Upon a Time

Interesting finale of Peter Calpaldi’s doctor, teamed up with the first Doctor.  It had an interesting theme – as the Doctors struggle with the need to ‘change’ in regeneration. I did like the impromptu Christmas truce in WW1 into the plot, but I felt the story was trying to do too much and so ended up doing less – and not sure what I think about the newly regenerated doctor falling out of the TARDIS. As with each changing of the guard, we will have to see how the new writers and actors take this perennial favourite.

3. Moana (Disney)

My children and I watched Moana just after Christmas with my sister, a niece, two nephews – and loved it. And then watched the DVD on Boxing Day while at my sister’s, and enjoyed it again. Moana and Maui are great characters, with strong character journeys. Visually stunning, incorporating Polynesian culture and myths, and with a great story. Well worth watching a second time.

 

And for me, the other highlight is the stories and poems published – with three poems, eight short stories, one novella (Blood Crystal) and a novel (Akrad’s Children).  It’s also great seeing reviews rolling in for Akrad’s Children and Blood Crystal.

My plans for 2018 included the sequels to Heart of the Mountain & Blood Crystal, the next book in the Akrad’s Legacy series – Rasel’s Song, a Collection – Ruhanna’s Flight and other stories, plus participating in the On the Horizon Book Bundle (Akrad’s Children will be included with 22 other great stories of speculative adventure). On the Horizon is already available for pre-order.

What were your favourite reads – and watches – for 2017? What achievements have you celebrated, what goals do you have for 2018?

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and fantastic New Year.

Jeanette O’Hagan

Scavenger Hunter Winners

Thanks for all who left comments on the blog tour and those that entered the Blood Crystal Scavenger Hunt.

The correct answers are:

  1. Glow worms are insect larvae and can only be found in Australia and New Zealand
  2. Copper was mined in the Adelaide Hills town of Callington.
  3. The agents need sugar more than Sarah
  4. Trajan’s greatest fear is being underground (though claustrophobia or fear of being trapped would be acceptable).
  5. The catacombs are the underground location Nola toured on her trip to Rome.
  6. Delvina and Retza go on a perilous journey in Blood Crystal.
  7. Mt Morgan mine is associated with pollution on the Dee River.
  8. Stalactites are the limestone formations that hang from the roof.
  9. The twins final meal as their food ran out on the journey was dried mushrooms and smoked cave fish (with melt water) as mentioned in the excerpt provided.

Time to announce the winners of the Scavenger Hunt

– drum roll –

First prize – $50 Amazon voucher – to the first person with all the correct answers –

Sally Poyzer

Thanks Sally – your answers were spot on.

Second prize – copy of Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal

Linsey

Great effort Linsey. Loved your detailed answers  – and it’s clear you’ve read Blood Crystal – unfortunately though I loved your  ‘ground-bat’, this was what the twins ate sometime after their food ran out. All your other answers were correct.

I’ll be in contact with you both in the next few days.

Opportunity

Reduced Price – for a limited time Blood Crystal is at the reduced price of $99 US. A great time to purchase it. Check it out here.

Thanks again for the great support through the launch and blog tour of Blood Crystal. I’m loving the reviews.  I’m hoping to have both Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal available in print by early September.

Jeanette

 

Blood Crystal Scavenger Hunt

Over the last three weeks, Blood Crystal has been touring a round of fabulous blogs. Today, we arrive at the final stop.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

Isn’t it strange how, when we are waiting, time seems to stop moving. It’s almost as though we are caught in amber, caught between the moments, as though time itself has been freezed-framed and whatever we are waiting for will never arrive (or is that just me?).  The temptation is to give up.

And then, in a pivotal instant, there is the knock of the door, the arrival of a friend, the opportunity we’d hoped for.

Patience is rewarded.

As a writer, we want it all to happen from finishing writing the book, to publishing it, to gaining thousands of readers – but at each step of the journey we find ourselves waiting and in need of patience and persistence.

As a reader, with a great book we enjoy the journey – both inpatient to get to the end and, at the same time, never wanting it to end. Then we can’t wait for the sequel 🙂

At one point in the Blood Crystal, the twins Delvina and Retza head off on a treacherous journey to find help from Zadeki and his kin. They face a number of different challenges due the extreme terrain and their own unfamiliarity with the ‘outside’. At one point they run out of food and it seems they will never reach their goal.

Delvina placed the last of their dried mushroom and slithers of smoked cave fish into Retza’s mug and poured some of the steaming melt water over it. Saliva flooded her mouth at the tantalising smell. She offered the mug to her twin, giving him her own share in mute apology. If there was a source of food in the barren wilderness, neither she nor Retza had been able to find it. He gulped down the broth and then thrust the cup into her hands, half full.

She shook her head. ‘It’s yours.’

‘We both need to be strong.’

Once she swallowed the delicious mouthful, she stood and gathered her gear. Retza groaned and did the same. Ducking her head, she stepped out into the soft grey light that seemed to linger as the sun dipped down behind the jagged skyline. Retza stumped in front of her and took the lead and the full force of the buffeting wind for this shift. She clutched the copy of the instructions the old Scrybe had written out for her. A soft sorrow welled up and brought tears to her eyes. It was hopeless, beyond crazy. Perhaps they should go back.

Is their patience and persistence rewarded? You’ll have to read Blood Crystal to find out.

Last question for the Scavenger Hunt. What is Delvina and Retza’s final meal as their food runs out during their journey?

Scavenger Hunt

Blood Crystal Scavenger Hunt will run throughout the Blood Crystal Blog Tour. Each blog will have a reflection or memory related to themes within Blood Crystal and a related question. The first person to answer all NINE questions  right will win a $50 Amazon voucher. The runner up will receive copies of both Heart of the Mountain and the sequel Blood Crystal.

Please give your answers in the comments below.

Here are the Questions with links to the different blogs to find the clues.

Blog 1 Jeanette O’Hagan Writes: Where do Glow Worms live and what kind of animal are they?

Blog 2 The Vince Review: What mineral used to be mined in the Adelaide Hills town of Callington?

Blog 3 Lynne Stringer: What do the agents need more than Sarah?

Blog 4 Cindy Tomamichel: What is Trajan’s secret fear?

Blog 5 The Write Flourish: What is the name of that underground location which Nola toured?

Blog 6 David Rawlings Author: Who has to go on a perilous journey in Blood Crystal?

Blog 7 Adele Jones Author: What is the name of the mine associated with the pollution of Dee River

Blog 8 Adam Collings:  The formations that hang down from the ceiling of a cave, are they stalactites, or stalagmites?

Blog 9 Jeanette O’Hagan Writes (here): What is Delvina and Retza’s final meal as their food runs out during their journey?

I’m looking forward to seeing your answers.

Comment Winners

Announcing the winners who commented on the different stops on the way. Thank you for everyone who took time to stop by, read and leave a comment. I loved reading through the different comments and found it hard to choose.

One person deserves a grand-prize as she give thoughtful and interesting answers on every single blog. Way to go Nola Passmore.

So without more ado, I’ll detail the winners of a copy of Heart of the Mountain. (If you’ve already have a copy, you can nominate a friend to receive a copy or nominate one of my other e-books instead – The Herbalist’s Daughter, Lakwi’s Lament or Blood Crystal).

Winners:

Overall winner – Nola Passmore for the most comments – always interesting and entertaining 🙂

Blog stop 1  – this was so hard to choose, but I loved Susan Preston’s answer.

Blog stop 2  – Adam Collings

Blog stop 3  – Badger

Blog stop 4 – Paula Vince

Blog stop 5 – Sally Poyzer

Blog stop 6 – Adele Jones

Blog stop 7 – Linsey Painter (also receives her choice of a book in the Blaine Colton trilogy from Adele Jones)

Blog stop 8 – some great answers & hard to choose, but as others have already received a prize, Christine Dillon (also receives a copy of Lynessa’s Curse by Adam Collings).

Honourable mentions to Lynne Stringer and Cindy Tomamichel  🙂

And a big thanks to my wonderful blog hosts – Paula Vince, Lynne Stringer, Cindy Tomamichel, Nola Passmore, David Rawlings, Adele Jones and  Adam Collings. Please, check out their blogs for some great content 🙂

Until Next Week

I’ll announce the Scavenger Hunt winners next Friday – so you still time to enter, but remember the first two to get the all the correct answers wins.

 

Jeanette

Blood Crystal Blog Tour

Unlikely Heroes

Superheroes are all the rage on the big screen. Super-heroes have super powers, snazzy suits, impressive physiques and side-kicks. They laugh in the face of danger, amaze us all with their stunts and tricks, and despite the super-villains they are pitted against, they always save the world – or the cosmos.

Do you remember Susan Boyle when she first walked on the stage. No one took her seriously, no one thought she could sing – until she opened her mouth and the world gaped. Often we are so fixated on image that we miss the substance. In real life – heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t necessarily have perfect figures, flawless hairdos and the latest fashion sense or the coolest technology.

The twins, Delvina and Retza, may not look like your typical heroes – but I think they are. In Blood Crystal, they undertake an epic journey across a hostile landscape to save their realm. They dare to attempt what others are too afraid to, they have the grit to keep going and faith that they will find answers. They care what happens to each other and the people they know.

Can you think of some unlikely heroes? What do you admire about them? What can you learn from them?

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm Under the Mountain – Book 2

The underground realm is under attack from mad Overseer Uzza and the Crystal Heart is failing. As things become desperate, Twins Delvina and Retza must brave a treacherous journey to seek help from Zadeki and his people.

Will they find the answers they seek before it’s too late? Is the blood of Uzza’s children the only way to restore the Crystal Heart? What are the twins prepared to do to save their realm and those they love from certain destruction?

Blood Crystal is the second novella in the Under the Mountain series. Like most of my fiction, it is set in the world of Nardva. Available from Amazon, or Kobo, Nook and other retailers.

Blog Tour

A few days ago, we launched Blood Crystal – sequel to Heart of the Mountain.  Over the next couple of weeks – Blood Crystal will be featured on a different blogs as part of the Blood Crystal blog tour.

There will be –

Reviews of Blood Crystal

Interviews of both me and maybe even a character

Reflections

Competitions &  Scavenger Hunt.

Opportunities to win:

Throughout the blog tour there will be many opportunities to win prizes.

Comment below

Comment below on this post (and on any of the posts in the Blood Crystal Blog Tour) – the best comment (imo) will win a copy of Heart of the Mountain: a short novella.

Heart of the Mountain on Amazon

Scavenger Hunt

Blood Crystal Scavenger Hunt will run throughout the  Blood Crystal Blog Tour.  Each blog will have a reflection or memory related to themes within Blood Crystal – and a related question. The first person to answer all NINE questions  right will win a $50 Amazon voucher. The runner up will receive copies of both Heart of the Mountain and the sequel Blood Crystal.

Follow each post on the blog tour to find the questions & list your answers in the comments on the final blog post of the tour on 28 July. There will also opportunities to win prizes at each blogspot.

Glow Worm Caves

In my twenties I stayed at Lune River Youth Hostel south-west of Hobart. Apart from a pet possum that would scamper up guests’ legs to reach their heads, the Youth Hostel was close to some famous glow worm caves (in the Hastings caves area).

Getting to the caves involved driving into the bush on dusk, stopping at the side of the road as the sun set behind the horizon and them hiking in 20 minutes to an abandoned site, using old railway lines as a guide for part of the way. As the light faded, we secured our miners lamps and jumped down to a creek (or small stream) and followed it as it disappeared under the hill into the spacious caverns. We walked some distance in, staying in the main cave, and switched off our lights. Slowly above us the cave roof filled with bright stars in swirls and clusters denser than the milky way in the middle of the outback – glowing lights produced by a colony of insect larvae. Did you know that glow worms only found in Australia and New Zealand?

After we had enjoyed the wonder and beauty of their magical lights, we clambered out from under the mountain, up from the creek bed and walked back through the bush to the road in the dark. Glow worms are small, seemingly insignificant – yet produce inspiring beauty as they shine in the dark – perhaps unlikely heroes.

It was an amazing experience, one which I drew, on along with a visit to the deep underground mines in Mt Isa, when writing Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal.

Question for the Scavenger Hunt:

Where do Glow Worms live – and what kind of animal are they?

Next Stop

The next stop on the blog tour – is Paula Vince. She will be giving her review of Blood Crystal  If you haven’t discovered it yet. Paul gives thoughtful, entertaining and intriguing reviews – including a fresh look at our favourite books through lists – in the Vince Review. Check it out here.

Blog Tour Schedule

 

Jeanette

Super Series Spotlight in June

Narnia, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Inheritance Cycle, The Lunar Chronicles, Game of Thrones ….

Who loves a series?

Well, I know I do.

There is something immersive in a series. It allows the reader to stay in the world longer, savour it’s unique flavour, to get to know its cast of characters, to feel like you belong.

This June a number of authors have banded together to offer an introduction to exciting speculative fiction series. D L Richardson’s Welcome to the Apocalypse, Mirren Hogan’s The Magic of Isskasala series and other great spec fic titles.

Stories from Nardva

I’m thrilled to have some of my works included:

The Herbalist’s Daughter, story 1 in Tamrin Tales.  A YA fantasy romance story set in the Golden Palace of Tarka some  years before the start of the Akrad’s Legacy series. Anna has her heart set on the young guard at the Palace but he seems not to notice her until her young charge stirs up trouble. Download from here .

Heart of the Mountain: a short novella  – book one in the Under the Mountain series. Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as Prentices by their parents’ old crew when they stumble across a stranger, Zadeki. Soon the glimmer lights begin to fail. Will the three youngwuns work together to save the underground realm? Download from Amazon here or here.

And now presenting – the sequel to Heart of the Mountain, Blood Crystal is due to be released at the end of this month.

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm Under the Mountain – Book 2

The underground realm is under attack from mad Overseer Uzza and the Crystal Heart is failing. As things become desperate, Twins Delvina and Retza must brave a treacherous journey to seek help from Zadeki and his people.

Will they find the answers they seek before it’s too late? Is the blood of Uzza’s children the only way to restore the Crystal Heart? What are the twins prepared to do to save their realm and those they love from certain destruction?

Blood Crystal is the second novella in the Under the Mountain series. Like most of my fiction, it is set in the world of Nardva. Available from Amazon, Kobo, Nook and other retailers from 30th June 2017.

E-launch on Saturday 8th July 2017, 9:30-11:30am AEST (or Friday 7th July, 4:30pm-6:30pm PDT)

Cover Reveal

I’m also thrilled to announce the cover reveal of Like a Woman anthology – a speculative fiction anthology with profits donated to survivors of domestic abuse.

Like a Woman follows on from Like a Girl anthology which supported girl’s education. Both have covers by the talented Drusilla Morgan. The anthology is still open for submissions and should be published later this year or early 2018.

Super Series Spotlight

Please check other books featured in the Super Series Spotlight for some great reading 🙂  http://dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/june-super-series-spotlight-multi.html

Jeanette