Friday, August 26, 2011

Heir to the Shadows: Book 2 of the Black Jewels Trilogy

This is my favourite book in the trilogy. I’m just going to get that out of the way. I love it. It’s one of those books that I put aside time to read as opposed to reading when I have the time between writing and other things.
It starts with two major events: Saetan is granted all parental rights to Jaenelle by the Dark Council and then Jaenelle awakens from the coma that succumbed to in order to recover from her injuries that she gained at the end of the last book.
Saetan helps Jaenelle reconnect with her human friends and the Kindred (animals who have the power of Craft, same as the humans), while he tries to protect her from the attempts to control her by Hekatah, self proclaimed Priestess of Hell.
In his search for his son Daemon, missing since his refusal to go through the gate at the end of Daughter of the Blood, Saetan finds and starts to build a relationship with his youngest son, Lucivar, who is recovering from his own injuries after a suicidal bid for freedom.
Jaenelle takes the final steps to reclaiming her full power after an attack on the Kindred forces her to see that it is needed to protect them.

This is truly a funny, touching part of the bigger story

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Daughter of the Blood - Black Jewels Trilogy book 1

The first in Anne Bishop’s debut series The Black Jewels Trilogy takes the reader into a world that has been corrupted over several thousands of years. In a place where what colour jewel (ranging from white to black) determines how much inner power you have, the dreams of three men will change the world forever...
Saetan, The High Lord of Hell, wishes for a daughter. Aged in the high thousands he’s a Guardian, awaiting the daughter of his soul to arrive.
Daemon, the son of the High Lord of Hell dreams of being Witch’s lover. Until then, he is forced to submit to being a Pleasure Slave for queens all over Teirelle.
Lucivar, Saetan’s youngest son, dreams of a queen that he can be proud to serve, and that he can call a friend.
One night, Tersa, a witch who can see the future, announces that she is coming. Witch, dreams made flesh, and she will call in all debts.
Jaenelle isn’t what anyone expects. She’s younger, and she already has more power in her reach than the High Lord of Hell has... And all that she wants is to help people, and to be loved for who she is. Born into a family that doesn’t understand who or what she is, she struggles, sent to Briarwood (the facade of which is a mental health institution), until the High Lord becomes her mentor, teaching her everything he knows.
Then, Daemon is sent to Jaenelle’s grandmother’s house to service the adult women and meets the girl who is Dreams Made Flesh and learns of the horrors hidden behind the aristo facade.
For “Briarwood is the pretty poison” and what happens there will shape the bloods’ destiny forever.

I first found these books several years ago, and every time I read them I am drawn back into the world. Moving, funny, I’d recommend them to anyone who likes dark fantasy.

Friday, August 19, 2011

 Come to the launch at Red Brick Gallery and Emporium in Ballarat on September 2, 2011 @ 6:30pm and pick one up for $25. Cash sales only.
 Place an order with the author for a copy of the book. You will not be charged postage. Email to place your order
 Go to and place an order through them
 Go to and place an order ( )

More like 14 days and counting

16 days and counting... What else do I need to do
The countdown to launch day looms above me. All I can think is that I hope that the books get here on time. I hope that I buy enough food (keeping in mind I’m not providing meal type food but rather snackish stuff that they can eat while having alcohol). I hope I buy enough non-alcoholic drinks (bet I run out of those before I do the wine).What if I don’t sell any books? What if people don’t like my speech? Damn I hate speaking in public. Will the local paper remember to show up (I will be calling them a few days before to confirm).
I may be overworrying, but it’s what I do.
Well, the books are in Australia and have cleared customs. Now the waiting really begins. It could be any day that they arrive (except weekends). I try to remain optimistic but it’s getting harder.
Too much weighs on the success of this event. I’ve already un-volunteered myself for derby duties the day before, knowing that I’ll be a bouncing ball of stress and anxieties (all the more so if the books don’t get here in time).
All I can do is work one day at a time...
16 days to go

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

(Involuntary) Bunjee Jump Into Darkness

When I think about my own battles with the shadows on my path, I always mentally refer to bunjee jumping, involuntary.
I stand at the edge of a cliff, the darkness is far beneath me. My bare toes tentatively caress the edge as I hold to the barrier behind me with clammy hands. Then, something, so slightly, pushes me and I fall forwards, down into the chasm below. All I can see if the dark that is rapidly rising up to meet me. It’s fluid, like water and I try to pull away from it. My body buckles as the rope that is tied around my ankles reaches it’s limit and pulls me upwards slightly. My hair brushes against the surface of the dark, my outstretched fingers dip beneath the it.
All I know is the dark. It is all that I can see. I can either wallow in it or try to pull myself up. I bend slightly, try to touch the rope at my ankles. It doesn’t work. I wonder if the dark place is really all that bad. Tears sting my eyes and my muscles hurt from being stuck in the constant tense position.
I swing my body from side to side and back and forth. It makes me dizzy, but it’s the only way that I can get enough momentum behind me to reach the rope which is soon in my grasp. I hold onto it with clammy hands like the lifeline that it is.
One hand at a time, I pull myself up. I get halfway and my hands, too damp to hold the rope slip a little. I give a little scream as I fall back down into the dark.
I swing there, unsure what to do next. Maybe it would be easier to swing there, alone in the dark. I could just stop fighting and my body would eventually go numb and I wouldn’t have to fight anymore because my strength would be truly gone.
Then I reconsider, realise that if I stay there, I would never experience the joy of the light again.
I pull myself up again. This time when my hands slip a little, I keep on going. The light becomes stronger and I pull myself up onto the ledge.
I sit there, looking back down at the darkness. From this perspective, it is not comforting at all. It is terrifying. I’m not sure that I can cope with another fall like that. I scoot backwards away from the edge, afraid again of myself and what I could be capable of if I allowed myself to feel the dark again.
I don’t speak about it much. I try to tell myself that it’s because I don’t want to worry people, but the realist in me shakes her head and tells me that I’m still scared. Speaking it aloud makes it real and that means that I would have to live with the consequences of my choices.
I prevail, I fight back every time. I do it because I believe, deep down that I’m worth something, even if the surface me doesn’t think so.

Friday, August 12, 2011

let's talk: Religion and census

So last night was census night here in Australia and the big question on everyone’s lips is what religion did you put a mark next to? Or at least it’s on the fingertips of every facebook user.
Even before the census papers were printed, a facebook event had been created, urging people to write “no religion” on their census form. Why? To keep religion out of politics.
Great idea.
On my forms I ticked “no religion” because my religious choices were not listed among those on the list on the firms. I could have written it in the boxed provided, but I doubt it would have counted for anything.
Technically, I am not a religious person. I have faith in things, but not in an all-powerful-god-like figure.
I have faith in the good of humanity, even in the wake of what’s going on over in London at the moment.
I believe that our destinies are within our control.
I hope that when we die, we go to a place of rest. But I also believe in the existence of ghosts.
A few years ago I dabbled in experimenting with Wicca and Paganism, but I had trouble with the visualisation parts and my interest waned. Now, if put under pressure to determine what religion I am, I identify myself as a non-practicing Pagan who was a baptised Roman Catholic baby.
There isn’t a box for that.
Believe in what you want to believe in. Find a religion that is the best fit for you. That’s all I’m going to say.

clarification of ignorance

I had a post on the book launch’s facebook event page yesterday that the book was too expensive for so little pages.
This person, who does not know me, who knows nothing about my story was able to post this. Therefore I felt that I had the right to post a response brusquely detailing why I had come to that price, thus relieving them of their ignorance. They are not coming to the event. I feel that’s probably the best choice that they could have made. They also deleted their comment, taking with it my comment where I gave my reasoning.
The post pointed out the following (for those who might want to see it):
The price of the book was set in accordance with mainstream market prices for new books. It was also set in consultation with another self-published author, who actually told me that I was setting my price a little on the cheaper side.
I also pointed out that there was no obligation for people at the launch to buy a book (though it would be appreciated). I know better than anyone that has gone to book launches and art show openings that just being there, observing and listening and asking questions is support enough for some people.
What I did not explain, though perhaps I should, was that on future non-launch orders that are placed with me, I will not be charging postage on my orders (initially anyway). I can absorb that cost with having the books made, and shipping without cutting off any potential profits that I might make.
All this left me with a sour taste in my mouth. It reminded me of all those people who said that writing isn’t really work.
To all those people I issue this challenge:
45 000 words in a week. Your first draft is your only draft.
It cannot be about vampires vs werewolves, fallen angels, post-apocalyptic teens or anything else that is in the market at the moment.
Also it must be perfect. NO spelling, grammatical or continuity errors. Your characters should be well rounded. I must be able to feel like I am walking in your settings. I want to feel everything that your characters do.
Suddenly, not only does this become work, it becomes an impossible task.
I know that.
Which is why I point out that writing is neither easy, nor is it a weaker option for a career path. You must be able to pick the flaws out of your story. That takes time. You need to be objective enough to see where plot holes have been cut into the road of your story. Again, this takes time.
Perhaps ignorance is really the only option for those people who turn their noses up on creative career paths.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Confessions of an Exorcist *FICTION*

So, the first thing you need to know about me is that once I was normal. At least, I thought I was normal. I mean, it wasn’t like I had such a weird life for a kid. I lived in a small Victorian town that was too small to be considered a city and too big to fall into a rural area. I went to school during the week and brought home pages with my primary school scrawl emblazoned with those gold star stickers when I’d done well (and hidden the ones with the teacher’s red pen all over them in the bottom of my school bag and pretended they were not there). My mum made my lunch and worked at a local clothes store, cutting out material for the owners to sew up into clothes. My dad owned his own business and was gone from the first thing in the morning and got home promptly at six each night. We took holidays to moderately priced caravan parks and stayed in tents that barely held against the harsh weather. I truly believed that we would live that way forever.
I was thirteen when it all changed and I’m not just talking about hitting puberty and all the fun changes that that brought.
See, the second thing you should know is that, I am not crazy. I wish I could tell you that I’m just a compulsive liar making up these crazy stories to make you pay attention to me. I’m just not that person though. Sure, I like reading books written for kids back in the 80s and listening to tween pop, but that makes me eccentric and slightly weird. It doesn’t make me crazy.
You see, demons are real.
When you’re done rolling your eyes in disbelief, I’ll continue.
So here’s the stuff you should know about demons. Yes, demons can possess people. They also like to sit invisible in the corner of the room and whisper things to you while you sleep, creating nightmares and paranoid thoughts. They are incorporeal. This means that you can walk right through them, though I’d strongly advise against it. Oh, and they don’t just come from Hell. There are plenty of religions in the world that have evil manifestations in them and the demons come from all of them. This means that your usual Holy water, crucifix and Bible are not going to work most of the time. Sometimes you’ll come across a genuine worshipping Lucifer demon who slipped back to earth for a little fun, but lately it seems that those encounters have been lately too few.
Okay, now the illusions. A demon cannot make a deal with you. It can offer, but a demon that tries to possess you is just a middleman, or a teenager if you like, sneaking out to party while Mother Demon is looking the other way. They have their issues too. Also the belief that every single demon you encounter was once an angel with pretty wings, sparkly halo and white gown is a lie. Again, this comes down to the whole religion thing. Not all demons come from Christianity, some are from other religions and they have their own origin myths that they have to honour.
I guess you’re wondering what made me come up with this realisation. Like most people in the field, my first experience with anything demonic was through the personal experience.
Like I said earlier, I was thirteen. It was the middle of the week around eight at night. My mother had been acting weird all day. She was mostly quiet, though when she did speak, she swore. A lot. My mother never swore. Anyway about seven thirty that night, my dad turned to me and told me to go watch tv in the other room.
I heard the first scream about ten minutes later. It was my mother. I ran to the living room and saw my mother looking back at me with silver eyes instead of her usual brown. She started swearing at me. My father ushered me into the other room and handed me his mobile and told me to call Father George.
I made the call and then went back to the living room and hid beside the tv cabinet where my father wouldn’t be able to see me. I watched as my father spoke in a loud voice in words that made no sense to me. He threw powders at my mother. Each time those powders hit her skin it started to smoke, as if it was cooking from within.
Then, just as Father George walked into the room, my mother smiled a sick smile and then she burst into flames that were gone as suddenly as they had appeared, leaving only a charred body where she had been.
My father started to laugh then. I didn’t know what was so funny.
I was still so shocked at what had happened that I didn’t know what to do. I tried to keep from letting them hear me cry. My sobs reached the ears of my father. He turned to look for me, his eyes glittering silver, the same as my mother’s had been. I pulled myself in closer to the wall, hoping that it would he wouldn’t find me. I knew that something was wrong with him, but I didn’t know what it was.
The next part is a bit fuzzy, so I can only tell you what I was told later on by Father George. My father fought against the demon to regain some control of his body, long enough to stop it from hurting me. The demon however, didn’t like that and spontaneously combusted, and just like that, I was an orphan.
I didn’t know at the time, but there was a lot of issues regarding my guardianship. See, my father had a brother who thought that he was going to be my guardian. However, my parents knew some bad stuff about Ryland and decided long ago that they would assign my bringing up to Father George, an old family friend.
I wasn’t too concerned about the decision. I actually didn’t want to live with my uncle. He was always muttering and talking about things I didn’t understand. Besides, Father George made it clear that even though he was a priest, I wasn’t required to go to church unless I wanted to and he wasn’t going to interfere too much in my life.
Well, one promise out of two kept is alright. I mean, it wasn’t like he could keep the last one. When he got called in to my high school after I accidentally exorcised my year nine art teacher, he realised that some interference in my life as far as demons went wasn’t such a bad thing. So, he trained me. He taught me everything he knew about demons and how to get rid of them. He was the one who told me about demons coming from all sorts of religions. He also linked me in with the corporation when I turned eighteen so that I could work as an exorcist for the community, which, sad to say, keeps me a lot busier than I wish.
So, yeah, I’ve got a weird job and I don’t get paid all that well for it. I usually get enough to pay my rent and bills, with some left over occasionally for treats. Of course, according to my tax returns, I work in an administration role at the church. Well, we can’t tell people about the demons. What would they think? Well, actually, we know the answer to that one. They’d think we’re crazy and try to lock us up for just thinking it.
We are not crazy. These things exist. When you see them, don’t try to get rid of them yourself. Call an exorcist. Leave it to the professionals. Believe me, it’s better that way

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let's Talk: Immortality

Even with medical advances available to us, literal immortality is impossible. There are too many elements that would still need to be considered before immortality could be gained. Despite that, people still seek it out. They want to be remembered, to be noticed, to be recognised as making a contribution to the world.
There is a part in all of us that craves this, whether we acknowledge it or not. Some people crave their descendants to know who they were through their actions or their creations. Others just want them to know that they existed.
There are celebrities who died years before I was born. When I see a picture of them, I know who they are and what they were famous for. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Lennon an d many others that have become iconic immortal images which people still recognise because of their films or music. One wonders whether the celebrities of our times that died young will become just as immortal?
So what is it about immortality that pulls at us, begs us to pay attention to it? Is it immortal life that people are really seeking out or rather immortal youth and do they know the difference between the two? Immortal youth, like immortality cannot be literally gained, despite what television advertisements or plastic surgeons tell us. Our bodies were designed to wear out as they got older. Wrinkles and grey hair are natural, a part of that process, yet we do our very best to hide them.
Maybe it’s not death that we fear but rather facing life when our bodies are not in their top condition.
Immortality, literal immortality isn’t something that should be sought after. There are social, emotional, physical and psychological reasons for this. Would you be able to live in the future without anyone that you know? How would you change as you took in the world around you? Would you be able to cope with the world?
I’m not sure what I believe. Perhaps in the future people will look at Facebook and think that it was the silliest thing around, but at the moment, people just use it to say “I’m here, I exist, I matter”. Perhaps in this way they think that if people will remember them then they will become immortal in their friends memories for years to come.