Cover Reveal for ‘Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean’

Last week I was thrilled to receive the cover art and design from IFWG Publishing Australia for my new novel ‘Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean’.

The illustration and design is by talented UK artist Catherine Archer-Wills. It’s quite a nail-biting time waiting for cover art to come through. While you have input in the process, you never know quite what to expect, or how your story is going to be distilled and interpreted into a design that captures the action and essence of your story.  Catherine has done an amazing job, and I literally bounced in my chair when I first saw the artwork!

Below is the front cover, and the wraparound. I love the motion of the waves! What is that menacing creature looming from the depths behind Curtis? You’ll just have to read the story to find out …


Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean: Front Cover

Cover Wrap_Curtis Creed

Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean: Wraparound cover


So, what’s this junior teen fantasy adventure all about?

In the coastal Queensland town of Midnight Cove, thirteen-year-old Curtis Creed’s world is falling apart.  Once a talented upcoming surfer, he cannot bring himself to return to the ocean.  His inability to overcome his fear earns him the ridicule of his older brother, Dylan. Worse, his family is struggling to cope with the loss of their father in a rock fishing accident.

The summer holiday looks long and lonely for Curtis until he meets Navaya, a mysterious sea dweller he rescues from fishing line in a rock pool.

When Curtis agrees to help Navaya find the Moami, the key to an undersea cavern hiding her people’s most precious secrets, he embarks on a dangerous quest that sees him join forces with awkward but brilliant new girl in town, Morgan.

Will Curtis be able to overcome his fears to return the Moami to its rightful owners before Navaya’s enemies succeed in their deadly mission? Was his father’s death really an accident? And what exactly is the lore of the ocean?

Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean will be released in Australia on 7th June 2018, with US distribution to follow. I hope you have as much fun reading it, as I had writing it.

Once again, a huge thank you to IFWG Publishing Australia for taking on ‘Curtis Creed and the Lore of the Ocean’.

I’ll keep you posted of Book Launch details (Save the date – Saturday, 16th June), so watch this space!

Happy writing, happy reading, and happy days.

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StoryCraft a finalist in two categories in the 2018 Peninsula Business Awards!

This week, I received the very exciting news that my little business, StoryCraft Creative Writing Workshops, has been named a finalist in two categories in the Peninsula Business Awards.

The Peninsula Business Awards supports and recognises small businesses across the Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Frankston Region. They celebrate the hard work business owners put in, and their contributions to the local community and the local economy.

StoryCraft Creative Writing Workshops is a finalist in two categories:  Best Education / Training Service and ‘Rising Star’ – Best New Business. I couldn’t be happier!

My little business was born from a dream to combine my passion for storytelling with my passion for inspiring and supporting writers of every age and ability, and it’s both satisfying and humbling to see it honoured in this way.PBAFINALIST

Believe in the beauty of your dreams, everyone. Woo Hoo! And thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting StoryCraft over the past twelve months. It’s been a heck of a journey 💞💞💞

Winners are announced at a Gala Dinner at the Mornington Racecourse on 2nd May, so keep your fingers crossed for me!  Congratulations to all the finalists in the Peninsula Business Awards. You can read the shortlisted businesses in their respective categories here.


Happy writing, happy reading, and happy days,

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My story ‘The Pedlar’ included in CSFG’s new anthology, A Hand of Knaves

I’m really pleased my first story sale of the year is to the CSFG for their upcoming anthology, A Hand of Knaves.  The theme is so much fun!

The central premise, as explained by CSFG in their submission call is:  “Rogues, thieves, pirates and ne’er-do-wells abound in speculative fiction. Sometimes heroic, sometimes villainous, often somewhere in between, rogues are as likely to steal one’s heart as one’s purse, and show little remorse while helping themselves to either.

So why do we love them? Because they’re imperfect, fallible, and even vulnerable under that carefully-maintained, world-weary exterior.

Rogues represent something we rarely see in our daily lives: ordinary people prepared to take on the “powers that be” by way of guile and subterfuge. But are they only in it for the loot, or are they – deep down – romantic at heart?”

The beautiful artwork for the anthology is by Shauna O’Meara.

My story, ‘The Pedlar’ is sharing the Table of Contents with some fabulous Aussie talent, and I can’t wait to read everyone’s stories. Below is the lineup for A Hand of Knaves:

  • Eugen Bacon, Ace Zone
  • Amy Brown, A Tale Of The Marriage Of Gawain
  • David Coleman, Immortal, Coiled
  • Tom Dullemond, The Killblaine Legacy
  • Maureen Flynn, Gardening Through the Danse Macabre
  • Rebecca Fraser, The Pedlar
  • Isobel Johnstone, The Apothecary’s Apprentice
  • Grace Maslin, A Question Of Identity
  • Chris McGrane, Trojan Thoughts
  • Claire McKenna, The One Who Walks The Permanent Way
  • Cassandra Page, The Best Heist Yet
  • CH Pearce, The Last Magicians of Sad Hill
  • Simon Petrie & Edwina Harvey, On the Consequences of Clinically-Inhibited Maturation in the Common Sydney Octopus
  • Louise Pieper, A Widow’s Worth
  • Robert Porteous, A Fair Wind Off Baracoa
  • Charlotte Sophia, Stardust
  • HK Stubbs, Lost Property
  • David Versace, A Moment’s Peace
  • Angus Yeates, Anchor Point

    For more information about CSFG and their publications click here.


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What I Read in 2017

I have two go-to sanity preservation activities: 1. Going for long walks.  2. Opening a book, escaping to new worlds and meeting new characters. In 2017 I didn’t get a chance to do either on an abundant scale, but overall it was a pretty damn fine year for reading and walking, and it looks like I’ve made it through with my sanity in check. (Disclaimer: There is still one day left of 2017).

On reflection, my reading list for 2017 is quite eclectic. I’m pleased to note seventy-five per cent of the list is made up of Australian and New Zealand authors. There is so much talent in the spheres of Australasian writing, across all genres.

I read more forensically these days than I ever have before, and some titles gripped me more than others. Enjoyment from reading will always be a matter of taste though (as it should be), so these aren’t reviews as such, more like a few indulgent observations.

  1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  My first introduction to Liane Moriarty (read before viewing the TV adaptation). It was a holiday read, and I loved it – the characters, the secrets, the dialogue, the relatability. I live on a Peninsula and do the ‘school thing,’ although I’m happy to say my crew are a much more down to earth bunch. Liane Moriarty has a real talent for observational writing. She skillfully holds a mirror up to the everyday familiarity of life, and family and social dynamics, and translates what she sees into memorable characters, and intriguing plots.
  2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing – he is an incredible wordsmith who deserves every accolade bestowed upon him. While I have greatly enjoyed other of his work, I just couldn’t finish American Gods.  I made it through about three quarters and then … I don’t know. Ran out of steam? It wasn’t the writing; that was solid as ever. Perhaps I’ll pick it up again down the track. I know it is a book loved by many. I also know many of my spec fic community are shaking their heads at me right now!
  3. Baby and a Backpack by Jane Cornelius. If you ever get a chance to meet Jane, you’ll instantly be attracted to her generous energy and zest for life. In Baby and a Backpack you feel like you’re given an insight into the history of this energy. It’s the true account of Jane’s quest for something more, as she travels the world alone, pretty near broke, and with her 12-week-old daughter to care for. Jane’s honest and open style makes for an easy read, and you’ll find yourself laughing – and crying with her – as she searches for the true meaning of home.
  4. The Rejects by Ali Smith. A delightfully whimsical tale about a crate of garden gnomes, that find themselves alone and rejected – relegated to the rubbish heap due to their imperfections. This host of charming characters can’t be held down for long though. They take to the road for adventure, and to discover exactly what it means to be a gnome (or Ginomee, as they call themselves, reading from the side of their crate). A great one for younger readers with important (yet subtle) lessons woven into the narrative.
  5. The Locksmith by Barbara Howe A talented Kiwi author who’s delivered a strong female protagonist wrapped up in an epic fantasy that brings together romance, war, political agenda, secrets, and a very becoming Fire Warlock (just don’t get him angry). This is the first book in the Reforging series. It steers into quite complex historical territory at times, but if you’re a fan of intelligent detailed worlds, quick-witted heroines, and skillful writing, this one’s definitely for you.
  6. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough That ending. Oh, my Glob – that five star ending!!! ‘nuff said. #respect
  7. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty My second foray into Moriarty’s work. For me, another page turner. What I thought was going to happen in that suburban back yard turned out to be much worse than what had been foreshadowed. Again, great cast of characters.
  8. The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale A very cool offering indeed. A little predictable from the get go, but the setting, era, and sub plots in this are enough to keep you turning pages until the end. Not to mention the way this book is deftly handled by Lansdale – a coming of age tale, narrated by an elderly protag. It works on a number of levels. Read it! Then read more of Lansdale!
  9. Elementals: Stories of Fire & Ice by A S Byatt  A short collection of beautiful fairytale-esque writing. Some stories were easier to lose myself in; others were a bit of a struggle.
  10. Jasper Jones by Craig Silver Jeffrey Lu is my new favourite literary character –  a scene stealer every time he pops up. I also enjoyed the beautiful imagery Silver used throughout. The story itself was a bit of a stretch in places … but so what? That’s the beauty of fiction 😊 I watched the movie last week, and was disappointed, as one usually is when they have read a memorable book.
  11. Towards White by Zena Shapter A sci fi debut novel, with a fab Icelandic setting. Towards White revolves around a subject I have long been fascinated by: where does energy go after you die? Zena tackles this subject with an intelligent plot that combines suspense, mystery, action, intrigue, and a smattering of romance. Another great Aussie author to look out for.
  12. The Grief Hole by Kaaron Warren It’s not surprising The Grief Hole scooped multiple awards this year. It’s utterly compelling in a way that, at first, is hard to put your finger on. You are never quite sure what you’re reading – which is testimony to Kaaron’s skill – and the characters are an ugly, yet gripping study in human nature. It’s dark as all get out, but will stay with you long after you’ve finished. This is one I will re-read in due course, as there are layers that deserve further exploration.
  13. It’s Your World by Kristy-Lee Swift A refreshingly different debut novel from a Mornington Peninsula author. It’s Your World is a clever YA exploration of family dynamics and self-examination. It is written in verse, a vehicle that showcases Kristy-Lee’s versatility and skill in a challenging medium she makes look effortless. Watch out for this author – the voice is strong in this one!
  14. The Girl With all the Gifts by M R Carey Far out, I loved this novel! Carey has nailed it: original take on a well-worn trope written with stripped back, straight forward brevity. If you aren’t moved by Melanie’s predicament, you have no heart.
  15. We Ate the Road Like Vultures by Lynnete Lounsbury  This was like taking a bizarre, unexpected literary road trip. Really good fun about a girl from Northern New South Wales who heads to Mexico to track down her hero, Jack Kerouac.  It’s totally weird, and totally cool. I couldn’t get on board with the protag, LuLu – her age didn’t match her worldliness – but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
  16. The Easy Way to Control Alcohol by Allen Carr  Sometimes I feel my love of wine could foreshadow a potential issue. So I read this book, and didn’t recognise myself in it.  Now I know it doesn’t. Hurrah! Cheers 😊
  17. The Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl One of the many reads I had with my son this year. A timeless classic.
  18. Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen  This is a great collection, due for release early 2018, that I was lucky enough to get an early read of. Steven is a versatile writer indeed, with the ability to tackle horror from a number of angles – psychological, Lovecraftian, subtlety and understatement in a style reminisce of the masters of the turn of the 19th century, contemporary dark fantasy, and every now and then a shocking sledgehammer right between the eyes. Great stuff for lovers of the genre, or those coming new to it.
  19. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape Hands down the most valuable book I’ve read in years. A gift from my brother who had already decided it was a great investment for himself. A common sense guide to finance and long-term financial security for Australians of every age and demograph. The Barefoot Investor seems to be the book on everyone’s lips in 2017, and I daresay its popularity will extend into next year and beyond.
  20. The Lavender Keeper by Fiona McIntosh Not they type of book I normally read. While the story didn’t grip me as I hoped it would, and I felt that the female protag was wasted (she was trained as a spy and deployed on a highly dangerous mission, yet didn’t get to exercise any of her skills except the most basic), I admired the level of research that McIntosh put into this book. I certainly learned a lot about WW2, and the interplay of Britain, Germany, Russia, and the various regions of France during wartime. A win for me – I have a huge thirst for knowledge.
  21. The Road to Winter by Mark Smith I love dystopia, and I love regional Aussie settings. I also love a vulnerable, likeable protag. Put it all together, and you have The Road to Winter, a great debut by award-winning Mark Smith. My favourite part is the budding relationship between the two main characters, it is well handled and adds a heightened  level of reader investment – I have a hunch Smith will cash in on this and their relationship will be tested as our heroes face danger and challenges in the next book in the series: Wilder Country.
  22. I Came Back to Show You I Could Fly by Robin Klein This is a re-read for me from my tween years. Also part research for something I’m working on. It’s always interesting when you come back to a book you loved at a different time in your life, and recognise how you have evolved as a reader. (Not a negative, merely an observation).

Bring on 2018 – first cab off the reading rank: Looking for Alibrandi

Happy writing, happy reading, and happy days …


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My poem ‘Cycle’ in Killing it Softly 2: The Best by Women in Horror

So, Happy Hallowe’en everyone! A fitting day to announce the book birth of Killing it Softly 2: The Best by Women in Horror.

Hot on the heels of last years highly acclaimed ‘Killing it Softly’ anthology, Digital Fiction present the second instalment of horror stories written by women. I’m super thrilled to be included again, with Volume 2 featuring my poem ‘Cycle’ (originally published appeared in New Myths, Anniversary Issue 5, 2010).

There’s a stellar line up of authors, and I’m humbled to share the table of contents with some of the best writers of horror and dark fantasy both here in Australia, and internationally.  KIS Vol 2

For the next 48 hours, you can purchase the digital edition of Killing it Softly 2 for only $0.99 with the print edition to be released shortly.

Check out the blurb below, along with the incredible  lineup. To order your copy, head over to Amazon here.

Beneath the icy depths of this next instalment, you’ll be plunged into a world where 38 female horror writers give you a glimpse of their inner-demons, unleashing the hell-fire they suppress in the ‘real’ world. It will disturb you to discover what really lurks inside their minds, because many of these stories delve into pain that can only be experienced by women—leaving you unhinged as you curl up with them during their darkest hour.

Post-partum depression, hording, anorexia, and mental health will be brought to light when viewed through the shadowy perspective of cognitive deception.

Sci-fi, romance, steam-punk, and fantasy intertwine with horror to deliver unsettling, chilling stories; traditional tales of witches, zombies, werewolves, and vampires will be told in twisted new ways that will shock, unnerve, and even repulse you…and within these pages, sometimes new monsters will arise from the ashes.

You may even discover that women can not only write good horror…but in some cases, can do it better.

Part 1 – Another Space, Another Time
The Whims of My Enemy – Amanda J. Spedding
A Moveable Feast – Jenny Blackford
Softly into the Morning – L. D. Colter
Whispers in the Wax – Tonia Brown
The Screaming Key – Lillian Csernica
Framed – Diana Catt
Bloody Rain – Rie Sheridan Rose
The Idlewild Letters – H.R. Boldwood
Kristall Tag – Holly Newstein
The Adventure of My Ignoble Ancestress – Nancy Holder

Part II – Monster Party
The Devil’s in the Details – Stacey Longo
Octavia – Chantal Boudreau
The Skeench – Debra Robinson
Sandcastle Sacrifices – Jennifer Brozek
Unfilial Child – Laurie Tom
Milk and Cookies – M.J. Sydney
Figaro, Figueroa – Karen Heuler
Scarecrow – Vonnie Winslow Crist
A Great and Terrible Hunger – Elaine Cunningham

Part III – Cognitive Deception
Belongings – Abra Staffin-Wiebe
Evil Little Girl – Barb Goffman
Blue – Julie Travis
The Devil Inside – Shannon Connor Winward
Shining Brook and the Ice Moon Spirit – Jean Graham
Damaged Goods – Lindsey Goddard
Project Handbasket – Rebecca J. Allred
Behind the Eight Ball – Lena Ng
A Faithful Companion – Deborah Sheldon
Omega – Airika Sneve

Part IV – The Changed and the Undead
Little Fingers – Christine Morgan
Golden Rule – Donna J. W. Munro
Fifth Sense – Tina Rath
Cycle – Rebecca Fraser
The Hand of God – Gerri Leen
Vile Deeds – Suzie Lockhart
The Holy Spear – Barbara A. Barnett
Skin and Bones – Rebecca Snow
Death Warmed Over – Rachel Caine

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My interview with Horror Tree

I was recently interviewed by Selene MacLeod for Horror Tree, a wonderful resource for authors that provides a wealth of writing advice and industry news. I’ve been horror treesubscribing to their weekly newsletter for years, and love getting the latest submission calls and regular author interviews delivered directly to my inbox.

Last week it was my turn in the spotlight, and Selene asked some terrific questions about my writing, my upcoming novel, my interest in horror and dark fantasy, and pretty much everything in between.  You can read the interview here.

Thanks so much for having me, Horror Tree.


Happy writing, happy reading, and happy days 🙂

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My tale ‘Knock Knock’ in ‘Trickster’s Treat’s #1’

When OzHorror’s Steve Dillon put the submission call out recently for a new Halloween themed magazine, ‘Trickster’s Treats,’ how could I resist?22140841_1596505473721812_3572906694138814754_n

Everyone knows I love horror as much as I love the challenge of flash fiction, so with only 666 words to work with, I’m pleased to say my dark little tale ‘Knock Knock’ made the cut.

You can read ‘Knock Knock’, along with thirty-five other bite-sized tales from some awesome authors of horror and dark fantasy to get you in the festive spirit (that’s Halloween, of course 🙂 ). Click here to order a copy.

Happy writing, happy reading, and happy days.

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