Dark Horse is a PRISM 2016 Finalist

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May 272016

PRISM 2016 FinalistI got the news a few days ago that DARK HORSE has finaled in the PRISM Awards 2016 in the Futuristic category. The PRISM is a contest for published books run by the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Writers Chapter, and the winners will be announced at The Gathering in San Diego this July. I am thrilled DARK HORSE made the list, and am in very good company. You can find the list of all finalists here. It’s a real honour, and good luck to everyone who finaled.

May 202016

Dark Horse 250px heighFor those readers who’ve previously contacted me about audio book versions of the Class 5 books, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed a contract with Podium Publishing, the audio book publishers behind the world’s highest selling audio book THE MARTIAN, for all three books in the Class 5 trilogy.

The first audio book in the series, Dark Horse, won’t be out for some time, as we are not yet in production, but I’m happy to say it is in the pipeline.

Update on Portals Project: Volume 1 is live

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May 132016

Portals Vol 1I’m thrilled to say that the first volume of the Portals Project is live and available at all the various online retailers. Readers get a free sampler of first chapters of ten different science fiction romance novels with a medium heat level in Volume 1. The other volumes will be released at two week intervals.

You can download the Portals Volume 1 from your favourite retailers here:

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

Portals Project – The Gateway to Exciting New Stories

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May 032016

Dark Horse 250px heighI’m excited to announce my involvement in the Portals project. Forty science fiction romance authors from all areas of this diverse genre have come together to put together four volumes of samplers of our work. Each volume will contain opening chapters from ten different authors, grouped together by heat level. The opening chapters of Dark Horse will appear in Portals Volume 3, and I’m thrilled to be participating in such an awesome project.

The Portals volumes will be available for free on all the major online booksellers sites and will hopefully give readers a taste of what they can find out there in the wonderful world of science fiction romance. Stay tuned for more details about release dates, but you can read more about how the idea came about at the Spacefreighters Lounge and over at Galaxy Express.

Dark Horse Print Giveaway

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Feb 292016

Amazon is running a print giveaway for Dark Horse! To enter, click here. Amazon will ship the copies to the winners, but it is for US residents only, I’m afraid. Good luck!AMAZON GIVEAWAY

Dark Horse nominated on All About Romance Reader Survey

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Feb 262016

Dark Horse 300pxDARK HORSE nominated for an AAR Readers Award

A while ago, All About Romance ran a Readers Survey to find which books were their readers’ favourites. They had so many submissions (what a great thing!) that they ended up having to only choose those who got 5% of the vote for each category or more. I just got an email from them today to say DARK HORSE has been nominated for Best Science Fiction Romance, with only one other book getting 5% or more in the same category, SIRENS CALL by Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz). To say I’m thrilled is really putting it mildly!

To be on any list with Jayne Castle is amazing, and I think the fact that only two books got more than 5% of the vote proves how diverse the SFR genre is and how many great books there are in this genre. There is something for everyone. Thank you so much for all the readers who voted for DARK HORSE, and if you are interested in participating in the final vote, or just want to see what awesome books readers have chosen as their favourites (my TBR pile is already higher, having gone through the list myself this morning) here is the link.

Perth Writers Festival: The Changing Landscape of Publishing

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Feb 182016

8429872585_10631f7ccd_nToday, I’m at the University of Western Australia, sitting on a panel with Claire Boston, Shona Husk and Nikki Logan, to talk about the changing landscape of publishing.

As part of the discussion, we are handing out a worksheet with some useful links, but I have come across a few more which attendees (and other writers interested in this) might find useful, so I have the original links plus the new ones in this post for easy access. I have also included some links to websites of service providers for authors wanting to look into self-publishing. Please note: I have NOT used all these services, I am listing them to give authors a place to start, and everyone needs to do their own research and comparison to work out if these services are right for them.

nymphette flourish 7

Places to do research on the professionalism and reputation of any publishing business or agent you are considering dealing with:

Writer Beware (sponsored by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, but supported by a number of other reputable writing associations)

Absolute Write Water Cooler – This is a must-visit place if you want to find out more about a particular agent / publisher / service provider.

Business articles on contracts and how publishing works:

The Business by Kristine Kathryn Rusch – the information on contracts on this blog is particularly invaluable.

Zombie Publishing Memes: Article on comparing self-publishing to legacy deals and how to compare apples with apples

The Passive Voice: A Lawyer’s Thoughts on Authors, Self-publishing and Traditional Publishing

Places where you can create print on demand books:

Ingram Spark (cost associated with this service, although it isn’t very high)

To use both these print on demand services, you need to have a good cover, which will cost money (around $250 US for a good designer). You can do the layout yourself, using the templates provided, or pay a layout service $50 or so to do it for you.

Claire Boston also included some links she thought were useful to the worksheet:

Checking agents and editors:

Preditor and editor

Finding an agent:

Agent Query

Information on the writing business, in particular self-publishing:

Joanna Penn
Jane Friedman

Helpful podcasts:

So You Want To Be A Writer with Valerie Khoo & Alison Tate
The Author Biz with Stephen Campbell
The Author Marketing Podcast with Jim Kukral
The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn


These are links which were only available after the worksheet was put together, mostly because the information only came out in February 2016.

Author Earnings Report Feb 2016: This is a report put out by hybrid author Hugh Howey and a technical expert who goes under the name of Data Guy (much like The Stig of Top Gear fame). They use a spider and various algorithms to parse Amazon.com’s website to pull real numbers and figures out for analysis. Their methodology is openly explained, and in all cases they allow anyone access to the raw data they use to come up with their results, which they give in downloadable .xls files at the bottom of each report.

Disruption and Innovation in the Australian Book Industry: This report by Macquarie University contains feedback from most Australian publishers about their strategies for coping in the new digital landscape. It is worth reading for information on each publisher alone, giving how many books they publish a year, their imprints and what genres they publish. (Here is the general link to the report’s parent page on Macquarie University website, which contains other reports about the publishing industry.)



Covers are extremely important when it comes to selling books. When you are taking the self-publication route, you have far more control over the look of your cover than you would going the traditional publication route. However, if you aren’t a graphic designer yourself, I highly recommend either buying a premade cover or hiring a cover designer to create your cover for you, and to listen to their advice about what makes a good cover. The golden rule is to evoke the feel of the book, not to try and recreate a scene from the book. And also remember, in the new digital age, most covers have to look great in thumbnail, as that’s how they are displayed online, so simple, clean lines that can easily be seen work very well.

Premade covers are usually cheaper than custom designs, and there is a huge choice. I have listed some sites below, but this is not an endorsement, just a place to start. WARNING: Looking through covers can be addictive 🙂

Premade covers:

Book Cover Machine
The Book Cover Designer
Creative Paramita
The Cover Collection
Ebook Indie Covers
Go On, Write

Premade covers are also available on Canva. Big name authors like Hugh Howey have used canva covers in the past, and I personally think they look amazing. Each cover costs $1 each, and all you have to do is add the title, author name, and any tagline you require to the cover that suits you. You have to sign up for a free canva account, and you will be very glad you did, as you can design social media graphics, banners and many other graphical elements authors need to promote their work, either for free, if you use your own images, or for $1 a piece. Canva is a West Australian success story, as it was founded by a UWA graphic design lecturer, who went into business with two other partners, and now, canva is in my opinion the most useful, and easy-to-use, graphics tool in the world. If you don’t want to have to go through a steep learning curve to create amazing graphics, this is for you. It is as easy as drag and drop.

Cover designers

A more expensive option, but when you want something very specific, this is the way to go. Again, I have not used all these services, so please do your research. There are literally thousands of cover designers out there, and a simple internet search should yield you plenty of options:

99 Designs
Bespoke Book Covers
Earthly Charms
EJR Digital Art
Extended Imagery
JD Smith Design
Vila Design

Ebook formatting

This is a must-have component of self-publishing.

You can either do-it-yourself, by buying the software you need, like Vellum if you have a Mac (this is the programme I use and I highly recommend it) or if you have a PC-based system, Jutoh.

If that’s a step too far for you, there are plenty of companies who can take care of formatting your ebooks for you:

52 Novels
Author EMS
Ebook Formatting Fairies
Ebook Launch

Again, please do your research, and weigh up your options before you decide where to spend your money. And good luck!

(photo credit: reading 2 via photopin (license))


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