Another of those quick updates

I know…it’s been a long time between posts.

My life has been its usual craziness between my day job and working on the new book, but I thought I’d give a quick update on a couple of things.

Firstly, the new book…
My publisher, Michael Heyward at Text Publishing, gave it a lovely mention in a recent edition of Bookseller & Publisher, so I can now tell you it’s called The Undercurrent and it will be release in August 2017. As I’ve said before, it’s a totally new story set in a near-future Australia and is a stand-alone novel.

In other news, the Turkish translation of Burn is available, with a stunning cover design. Here are all four books in the series (in order):
10915288_919531344747805_6540803074086022022_n Haze_Turkish cover Turkish Shimmerburn-turkish-cover

My favourite reads this year include (click on each for my thoughts on Goodreads):

jaclyn cath-crowley kirsty chris-currie melina

I’ve also been lucky enough to read a draft of Vikki Wakefield’s new suspense novel Ballad for a Mad Girl (due out in March 2017) and can tell you that it’s spine-chillingly awesome.

I’ve also been watching:

hell_on_wheels_ver4_xlg

queen-south westworld the-walking-dead-season-7_0

(Jury is still out on whether I’m going to see out this season of Walking Dead after that first episode. I may not forgive the writers for that one.)

Okay, that’s it for me for now.

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What I’ve been reading

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about what I’ve been reading, so I thought I’d rectify that.

I’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of recreational reading in between line edits for Shimmer (less than three months until release!) and progressing further on the first draft of Burn.

Here are my favourites from the past few months. It’s an eclectic bunch. Click on the cover to  read my thoughts on Goodreads (some recommendations are more comprehensive than others!).

Burial RitesBitter Wash RoadImpossible KnifeShe is not invisible

AllegiantDream ThievesThese Broken Stars5th Wave

Siege and StormPeacemakerDisapearance of Ember CrowColdest girlStormdancer

What have you guys been reading and loving lately?

Louise Cusack’s trilogy set for ebook launch

Congratulations to fellow Queensland writer Louise Cusack for the upcoming release of her fantasy trilogy Shadow Through Time as ebooks with Pan Macmillan (only $5.33!).

The three novels, Destiny of the Light, Daughter of the Dark and Glimmer in the Maelstrom were originally released a decade ago in print and were popular with readers who like a bit of romance with their fantasy adventures. I interviewed Louise back in my days as a journo and read (and enjoyed!) the books. Louise has been a long-time supporter of other writers, providing mentoring and manuscript assessments, and it’s great to see these books get a new lease on life.

The ebooks are now available for presale on Amazon Kindle and within the next few days they’ll also be available in other ebook stores.  The official release date is February 15.

Find out more about the books here: http://louisecusack.wordpress.com/books/

If you haven’t read this series, start with Destiny of the Light (find it on Amazon).

Home town urban fantasy

There’s something a bit special about reading a story set in your own city. Even better if its urban fantasy. Better yet if it’s good.

I heard Trent Jamieson speak at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival last year. I took a shine to him immediately. Such a mild-mannered guy with a dry wit and a deep passion for writing, writers and story-telling – and so respectful of his fans.

I went to buy one of his books straight after the session (an entertaining hour with Marianne de Pierres) but someone literally grabbed the last copy of his Death Works Trilogy before I could get to it. It took me another three months before I got around to buying it, but it was worth the wait – I bought it at Avid Reader, where Trent works. And he kindly signed my copy.

Anyway, I’ve just finished the first instalment, Death Most Definite. It was a great. Very cool in fact. And Mr Jamieson is a very cool writer. He’s not the first to write about Death, or the business of reaping, but he’s done it in a way that’s original and highly entertaining.

Death Most Definite is a fast-paced read, with a narrative character who is funny, witty, self-deprecating, and sexy in a nerdy kind of way (and who’s hung-over for most of the book.)

I love the Brisbane locations and the concept of the massive One Tree straddling a parallel river city in the Underworld. And that Death’s head office is on George Street, along with all the other heavy hitters in town. Brisbane is so much edgier with the undead hooning around in stolen cars, heavily armed, and some of the city’s most iconic landmarks have deeper significance.

Death Most Definite is unashamedly Australian, which I also love. If you like well written urban fantasy with heavy doses of dark humor and wit – and you haven’t already discovered Trent Jamieson – you need to check out this series.

For more thoughts on Death Most Definite, you can check out my longer review on Goodreads here.

Summer reading (and faves for 2011)

Everyone’s talking about their summer reading choices, which has got me considering what I’ll prioritise in my to-read pile.

(My Goodreads to-read list is now up to 83 and my physical/ebook pile at home is sitting at 28 – don’t tell my husband… I already have to smuggle new books in.)

So… here are the titles I intend to tackle in the coming month or so (after doing my day’s editing quota, of course), in no particular order:

(I started this a few weeks’ back and then got sidetracked – keen to get back to it)

Update: forgot to mention this one (sorry Nicola!):

Top 10 reads for 2011

And, while I’m at it, here are my Top 10 reads of 2011 (some were published before 2011 – I just read them this year), again in no particular order (click on cover for my thoughts on each):

OK, I have make this a top 13 because I nearly forgot…

(And I only nearly forgot the last three because I only reviewed them on Goodreads, rather than on one of my blogs. A few fell through the gaps while I was trying to rationalise my blogging…)

Love to hear what your summer reads will be – and what your favourite reads of 2011 were.

The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

Last night, I made the mistake of attempting to tell my husband about The Scorpio Races, which I’d finished reading a few minutes before.

The problem was that I was still slightly overwhelmed by the beautiful ending and got a bit teary — at which point he nodded wisely, poured me a wine, and backed slowly out of the kitchen.

Anyone who’s read this (or my reading blogs in recent years) knows I’m a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing, so it’s no surprise I loved The Scorpio Races.

The surprise is just how much it blew me away. It is one of the most beautifully realised, atmospheric and tense stories I’ve ever read. Seriously, this novel is a master class in creating a sense of place, and populating it with perfectly drawn characters facing impossible choices.

It’s a love story, and not just one between a boy and girl, but between a girl and her horse, a girl and the wild island she lives on, and a boy and his man-eating water horse.

The story is set on the fictitious island of Thisby, some time in the past. The island is famous for its murderous capaill uisce, equine creatures that come out of the cold sea each November and are saddled and raced by the locals on the windswept beach. It’s an unforgiving, violent and bloody spectacle, and always ends in bloodshed.

The story has two narrators, Kate (aka Puck) and Sean, who each need to win the race for equally compelling reasons. They’re drawn to each other in the weeks leading up to the race, heightening the stakes and complicating their own situations.

As with Maggie’s other works, The Scorpio Races is a bittersweet story. So, yes, there are heartbreaking moments. But they serve to make the moments of triumph all the more moving and rewarding – and make the emotional journeys real.

I really loved this book. It was one that I didn’t want to put down, and equally didn’t want to end. (And yes, I can talk about it without welling up now…)

The good reads continue…

I’m on a roll with great books at the moment. The latest is All I Ever Wanted, a  gritty, riveting coming of-age-story by Vikki Wakefield.

It’s a gutsy book about family, identity, and the realisation that love comes in all shapes and sizes, told through the eyes of Mim as she approaches her 17th birthday.

It’s unsentimental, but even though Mim’s world is rough and tumble, it’s not brutal. There’s no dressing up the poverty and criminality in her world, and yet there’s still dignity in lives of the eccentric and dangerous characters around her (well, most of them. Some are just arseholes).

But in her desperation to get away from everything that makes her who she is, she discovers a startling – and liberating – new way to view her life and those in it.

All I Ever wanted is tightly constructed and very well written. I loved Mim’s journey, and her narrative voice was so compelling I read this in two sittings. It’s Australian, it’s brilliant, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Check out a more detailed synopsis here

Need a zombie fix?

They’re not sexy, but there’s something very cool about zombies.

And I must admit, I prefer my zombie stories with a fair dose of dark humour and irony (although you can’t go past The Forest of Hands and Teeth for something more disturbing).

Thanks to the cornucopia of goodies that is Twitter, I was introduced this week to the Caldecott Chronicles by RG Bullet, a series of very clever short zombie stories about an infestation of the undead in the Cotswolds in 1899.

RG Bullet nails the narrative voice – the very resilient, resourceful and well-mannered (if at times cheerily mercenary) 32nd Earl of Rothshire, who sets about dealing with his unwanted visitors, even if many of them are former friends and manor staff.

I loved the droll sense of humour, and the juxtaposition of zombie horror with the sensibilities of 19th century rural England. For me, the Caldecott Chronicles are what Pride & Prejudice and Zombies wanted to be, but didn’t quite pull off consistently.

As well as being cleverly written, the Chronicles also feature fantastic illustrations, which add to the fun.

The Chronicles will be available in their entirety in November (published by SilverHouse Books). Until then, you read the first instalment here.

You can find out more about the series (and RG Bullet) at www.rgbullet.com.

More great YA fiction – The Bridge by Jane Higgins

If we’re talking excellent young adult reads, it would be remiss of me not to mention Jane Higgins’ The Bridge.

Jane is a fellow author at Text Publishing, and won the Text Prize with this riveting dystopian tale. I blogged about it a few weeks back on Other Worlds, and you can find that post here if you’re interested.

(Occasionally I still post over at Other Worlds or Great Stories, although most of my thoughts on books I’ve enjoyed are on Goodreads these days, as a way to streamline my online book-related activities!).