2019 in review

If you had three words, how would you describe 2019?

Eventful, Stressful, Hopeful

It’s certainly been eventful and often stressful (especially on the world stage and also locally). Here in Australia the unprecedented bushfires, the smoke haze in many of our major cities but especially Sydney, and the drought has dominated the news. And of course, then there is Brexit, Trump and the revival of old political rivalries to keep us on our toes. So many issues to face and to take a stand on (whichever way that might be), that sometimes the good news can become lost in all the furore.

But if it all gets too much, why not escape into another world with a good book (or movie) to replenish and revision for a more positive future? With that in mind – how was your 2019 for books read, books written?

Recap of my 2019 literary adventures.

New Books and Stories

Under the Mountain Series complete

With the publication of Shadows Crystals & Shadows of the Deep – the Under the Mountain series is now complete. Currently, the first four novellas are available in print, and fifth soon will be.

Five Anthologies

Four my short stories & a poem have been published in five anthologies in 2019

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Recent releases & deals

Interviewed – by Altered Instincts

Altered Instincts aka author Leo McBride recently interviewed me following the recent release of Caverns of the Deep .and also Wolf Scout, in the Inklings Press latest anthology, Tales of Magic and Destiny. He asked some great questions.

What inspired the story [Caverns of the Deep]?
The first book in the series – Heart of the Mountain – which started as a short story on the theme glimpses of light (for the Glimpses of Light anthology). I set the story in an underground realm in which the power and lights were failing. But, as often happens to me, the story grew too long, so I submitted another story instead (Ruhanna’s Flight). Heart of the Mountain became a short novella which birthed the Under the Mountain series.


As a writer, have you ever had a character grow to be a much bigger part of the story than you expected? Who was the character and what was it about them that made them emerge from the sidelights?
Yes. Dinnis in Akrad’s Children started off as a side-kick to Mannok.  I loved his snarky, cynical view on life and, as the story developed, his wrenching back-story, difficult circumstances and motivations gave him a strong presence, until it became obvious that the first book in the series was, in fact, his story.


What are your favourite genres to read – and what is it about those genres that draws you in?

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Interview with Zadeki

Welcome Zadeki

Jeanette: Zadeki, Welcome. We’re chuffed you could take time to fly into today to enlighten us a bit more about yourself. We’ve been following your adventures Under the Mountain and also across the ocean in the Lonely Isles. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). Coughs Please, please pull up a seat and make yourself welcome.

Header

Zadeki:  My thanks, daughter of the pen. (Brushes a small feather from his hair, and jumps up onto a tree branch.) I’m glad you decided to have the interview outside. Sometimes I think I’ve been in more tunnels than anyone should in a life time.

Jeanette:  I can understand that. The last few days most have been particularly harrowing. Can you tell us a bit about how your association with the twins, Delvina and Retza, came about?

Zadeki: Ah, well, that’s a bit embarrassing. I wanted to prove to the Kinleader that I was ready to be a Pathfinder. So I decided to fly over the mountains to show my skill at shape-shifting. Instead, I ended up being caught in a snow storm and colliding with a mountain and breaking a wing … er arm. That’s when the twins found me and took me into the mountain caverns.

Jeanette: Your time with the twins and their people has been fraught with danger and difficulties. Even now things are in the balance, yet I’m sure the twins have been very glad of your help and that of your Kin.

Zadeki nods.

Jeanette: Lets talk a bit more about you. In our world, people are often divided between ‘cat’ people and ‘dog’ people.  Do you have a particular preference between the two?

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Crystals and Easter Eggs

What a busy couple of months it’s been.

Omega Writers Book Fair

I had a great time at the Omega Writers Book Fair with an exciting range of other authors, workshops and giveaways. Looking forward to the Book Fair next year.

Supernova Gold Coast

Young Adult Spec Fic authors Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones and I were at Gold Coast Supernova last weekend – under the Rendered Realms banner.

Lynne looked particularly dashing in her Verindon Overlord dress and tiara (the Verindon trilogy).  I went as Delvina (Under the Mountain series) and also as Kupanna Mara (Akrad’s Children).

I was excited to have Stone of the Sea the third book in the Under the Mountain series available. I also managed to snag an amethyst crystal that fits in nicely with my Under the Mountain series and hopefully enhances the display.  And Lynne had copies of Challenge Accepted available – a charity anthology for the Special Olympics with awesome speculative fiction stories, including one by me, Lynne and Adam Collings.

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February Round-up

What a month February has been –  a month of extremes of weather for one thing. I’m glad to escaped the worst of it here in steaming hot Brisbane, but feel for everyone who has suffered loss from bushfires or wildfires, the Sahara-dessert levels of heat south of the border or Antarctic cold of the polar vortex across the Pacific, from earthquakes, storms, drought and other disasters.

It’s been something of a deluge on the publishing scene for me in much more pleasant ways – frantic, crazy and fantastic -with four new books due for release in February-March, several events both online and in person, and two promotions.

New Releases

Shadow Crystals

Shadow Crystals – Book 4 in the Under the Mountain series

She will do anything to save her people.

Delvina, Zadeki and the delegation lead by Danel must seek answers from the haughty Vaane, but they find the Lonely Isles in turmoil. Will Delvina find the way to open the Gate in time to prevent her people from starving? Will she be reunited with her twin, Retza? And why are the Forest Folk so secretive? As tensions increase, Delvina must discern friend from foe and defeat the shadows in her own heart.

Join Delvina and her friends on their quest to save the Glittering Realm under the mountain.

Set in the world of Nardva, Shadow Crystals is the fourth and penultimate novella in the Under the Mountain series.

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My Spec-Fic Faves for 2018


2018 was a great year for reading. I smashed my Goodreads Reader’s Challenge goal and just scrapped to finishing the 2018 Popsugar Challenge. Once again this year, my reading included a selection from the classics, big names and several indie authors. While not all are 5 star reads, each of the books chosen for my 15 picks intrigued me and/or left me thinking about the characters, the plot or the world long after I’d put the book down.

What were my best spec-fic reads for 2018?

1. The Bright Empires series by Stephen Lawhead

This science-fantasy series by Stephen Lawhead consists of five book: The Skin Map, The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, The Fatal Tree.   The series follows the adventures of 17th century Arthur Flinders-Petrie, present day Kit Livingston, his erstwhile girl friend Mina, and the villainous Lord Burleigh, as they each seek to explore the mysteries of ley travel between an expanding number of alternative earths.  Each transfer to an alternative world is at a different time as well as place – from 17th century London and Prague, to China, to both Middle Kingdom and early twentieth century Egypt, ancient Tuscany, the paleolithic, early twentieth century Jordan, or north American desert.  Like the Doctor and Riversong – people can met out of synch with each other which results in some interesting plot points. New characters are added along the way and the stakes grow more serious with each book until it encompasses the whole cosmos. And while the final book didn’t quite live up to the rest,  I enjoyed the complexity of the plot, the immersive and detailed nature of each setting, the interplay of the characters, the redemptive arc and transcendence in this brilliant series.

2. Children of the Furnace by Brin Murray

Children of the Furnace is a YA dystopia set in a world devastated by global warming, with only the polar regions suitable for human habitation. Will, brought up by his step-father in Sekkerland (Greenland) is sheltered from the realities of the world until he is discovered by the Revouts and sent to Ferule – a re-education camp for boys – as a hated Heater.  The book is narrated by both Will and Leah (a girl from the south) with strong world-building and characterisation. Though, at times I found the violence quite harrowing and was disappointed the trope of religious fanaticism, I really did like the originality of setting and that Will seeks another way than ‘the way of the strong’.   Here’s my full review.

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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.

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On the Horizon and more

This year has been a whirlwind of activity and it hasn’t stopped yet. So another news update post, though over the next few months I’m planning on bringing you some interivews with Spec Fic authors and reflections and explorations related to speculative fiction and my world of Nardva.

Omega Writers Book Fair (6th March)

We had a great time with a fantastic range of writers, books and workshop from Gary Clark. Looking forward to doing it all again next year.

Gold Coast Supernova (27-29th April)

Spec fic and Young Adult authors, Adele Jones and Lynne Stringer are joining me at Gold Coast Supernova. We have some fantastic books, big smiles and would love to see you — Stand 77.

On the Horizon release

The On the Horizon boxed set release is fast approaching on Wednesday 1 May. Three days to get 22 speculative fiction novels at the low price of 99c USD, including Akrad’s Children. This is great value and will only be available for purchase for a couple of months.

A collection of 22 Fantasy and Science Fiction full novels from Amazon bestselling authors. This action-packed boxset is filled with strong-willed individuals who encounter or even are queens, witches, wizards, werewolves, shifters, angels, dragons, or shadowy nemeses. Stories are character driven and set in worlds with low or no technology. You will follow their journeys to discover magical worlds, encounter dystopian lands, space stations, and galaxies they never dreamed of before their adventures. Join us On the Horizon for these deadly and dangerous quests filled with nonstop action and adventure!

Included titles:
Pretty Waiter Girls – Greg Alldredge
fantasy

The Taming of Dracul Morsus – Stephanie Barr
fantasy

Caterina’s Renaissance – Christa Bedwin
fantasy

Clock City – Rebekah Dodson
fantasy

80 AD: The Jewel of Asgard – Aiki Flinthart
fantasy

Asante’s Gullah Journey – S. A. Gibson
science fiction

Shatterwing – Donna Maree Hanson
fantasy

Dragonwar – Mirren Hogan
fantasy

The Rose of Admirias – Charis Joy Jackson
fantasy

Anaya’s Key – Carina Merritt
science fiction

Homefront – Diane Morrison
fantasy

The Selection – Jason Nugent
science fiction

Akrad’s Children – Jeanette O’Hagan
fantasy

The Korpes Files – J. I. Rogers
science fiction

Planet Woman – Judith Rook –
science fiction

Assassins of the Dead – Avril Sabine
fantasy

Molten Heart – Katie Salidas
fantasy

From the Ashes – Connor Sassmannshausen
science fiction

Rain – K. J. Taylor
fantasy

Rebel Dragon – Steve Turnbull
fantasy

The Shadow of Oz – Jay Michael Wright II
fantasy

Beast Within – Stephanie Barr
fantasy

We will be having a pre-release party from 1pm 29th April  (Pacific time) – ie 6am 30th April Brisbane time.

In addition your can participate in the draw (US/CANADA only) to win 30 paperback books! Awesome selection of books. Sponsored by On the Horizon

Check out the list of giveaway books offered here.

Pre-order On the Horizon here.

In the meantime, I’m working on the sequel in the Heart of the Mountain series & the Akrad’s Legacy series, plus getting Akrad’s Children and Ruhanna’s Flight and other stories in print form. I also have had a short story accepted for an anthology though that’s all I can say at the moment.

Happy reading.

Jeanette

 

 

Ruhanna’s Flight

Ready to read new stories? Do you prefer print to e-book? Read on.

Ruhanna’s Flight and Other Stories

Over the last few years, a number of my short stories have been published in different anthologies. Have you ever wished that they were in one book? Now, many of Nardva tales connected to Tamra and the Five Lands are combined into one beautiful volume – Ruhanna’s Flight and others stories.

 

Tales of wonder, romance, adventure – dip into the world of Nardva with this collection of stories.

Now available for pre-order 99c USD — Ruhanna’s Flight and other stories – a collection of stories from the world of Nardva – some previously published, others brand new.

* * *Ruhanna’s Flight – Ruhanna’s father is coming for a rare visit from the capital. When everything goes terribly wrong, she discovers a mysterious gift that could save her — if it doesn’t kill her first.

* * *Heart of the Mountain – When shapeshifter Zadeki slams into the mountain side, he finds himself trapped in a strange underground realm. Can he escape or is he there for another reason?

* * * Rendezvous at Alexgaia – In her last mission, Space operative Dana secured the Infinity Cube at the cost her partner’s life or at least his humanity. Will Neon’s sacrifice be for nothing or will Dana be able to retrieve the key to the mysterious cube’s use?

Also Anna’s Dilemma, The Herbalist’s Daughter, Lakwi’s Lament, Moonflame, Withered Seeds, Space Junk, Rookie Mistake, Inferno and more.

Thanks to Bhri Stokes for the cover design.

Release date 6th March, this delightful volume is available for pre-order at the special low price of 99c USD

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079VVQHL3/

Amazon AU https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079VVQHL3/

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079VVQHL3/

As always, if you read and enjoy my stories, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon – or recommend them to a friend.

Also, don’t forget  On the Horizon Book Bundle is also available for pre-order (which includes Akrad’s Children as well as stories for Charis Joy Jackson, Mirren Hogan, Stephanie Barr and over 18 other fantasy and sci-fi authors).

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2zqiFLM

Everywhere else: http://bookae.org/horizon/

Books in Print

Do you love the smell of a paper and ink book?

 

Print version of Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal have been available on Amazon since last year. I’m also working on having them available for wider distribution through Ingram Spark, as well as print version of Akrad’s Children and for  Ruhanna’s Flights and other stories.

Book Fairs and Conventions

I’ll be at two events in the next couple of months. If you live in or are visiting South-East Queensland, I’d love you to drop in and say hello.

Omega Writers Book Fair (March 10th)

Meet over twenty authors including Gary Clark (creator of Swamp), Kathy Hoopmann (All Cats have Asperger Syndrome), and Young Adult speculative fiction authors Lynne Stringer (Verindon trilogy), Adele Jones (Blaine Colton Trilogy), Jenny Woolsey (Ride High Pineapple) and myself.  Find out more at the FB event page or Omega Writers website.

Supernova Gold Coast (April 27-29th)

Once again I’ll be sharing a table with Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones, this time at Supernova on the Gold Coast. This will be a fabulous event – with a great line up of stars, including Peter Calpadi, Pearl Macki and John Barrowman from Doctor Who. Wow!  Find out more about the convention here or Adele, Lynne and myself here.

Next post I hope to have an interview from an emerging Australian science-fiction writer.

Jeanette

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