Supanova Photos

Last weekend Rowena Cory Daniells, Cheryse Durrant and myself had a table at Supanova in Brisbane. We had a hoot and managed to sell plenty of novels at the same time. Here we are:

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There were some great costumes. I took a heap of photos. Here are some of the highlights.

Me and friend Sauron

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Great costumes. . .

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Dr Who family – complete with Tardis and Dalek dresses. . .

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Gandalf’s sneak attack on Sauron. . .

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And lastly a pic of Liam McIntyre, Todd Lasance and another Sparticus series actor during a panel. They provided an interesting insight in the acting craft & the crazy on-set hi-jinks.

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Supanova is here (and so are the ebooks)!

As I write this Supanova has kicked off at the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane. I’ll be there over the weekend (9-10th November) with bright shiny new copies of my Jakirian Cycle (for those from USA, Supanova is the Australian version of ComiCon). I’m be taking pics of the cosplay and posting them next week. There are usually some great costumes, and I’m sure this year will be no exception.

I’ll be sitting at my table in Artist’s Alley (in the RICC building) with fellow Queensland writers Rowena Cory Daniells (of former MGC fame), well known for her King Rolen’s Kin series, and Cheryse Durrant, who has just released her new book The Blood She Betrayed.

The Jakirian Cycle comprises three books, The Calvanni, Scytheman, and Sorcerer. All three feature great covers by Daryl Lindquist.

Calvanni front cover (Small)Scytheman front cover (Small)Sorcerer front cover (Small)

I’m excited to say that Calvanni and Scytheman have been released as ebooks. They are available here on Amazon.

Just in case you missed it here is a run-down on the Jakirian Cycle. . .

Think Kill Bill meets Dune . . . Heroic Fantasy in world of ceramic weapons where all metal is magical . . . In The Calvanni, the cavern-dwelling Eathal have emerged to wreak their vengeance on mankind. The fate of innocent thousands rests on finding the Scion – lost heir to the fallen Empire. The Temple has outlawed the ancient practice of Sorcery. Its Druids dominate religious and secular power, but are ill-equipped to resist an unknown evil once contained by the Emperors.

Scytheman follows on from events in The Calvanni. The city of Raynor is now in turmoil. False-Scion Osterac has declared himself heir to the fallen Empire and his supporters riot on the streets. Legions of non-human Eathal advance across the continent, destroying all in their path. The future of Yos lies in the balance and only the Scion can unite the shattered fragments of the fallen Empire. Pursued by the renegade Sorcerer Raziin, Cedrin and Ellen struggle to stay alive on a lawless continent torn by war. They are drawn toward a lethal contest for the awesome power of the Spear of Carris, where the identity of the true Scion will be revealed.

The three books follow Cedrin and Ellen as they face deeper and more hidden threats. Eventually they must face a final challenge as the most ancient secrets that bind their bloodlines are revealed.

I can’t tell you too much more about Sorcerer without spoilers.

If you are planning to attend Supanova Brisbane be sure to drop in and say hi.

The Calvanni & Scytheman ebooks are up on Amazon

Hi, everyone. I’ve finally made it through the ebook maze!

The Calvanni and Scytheman – Books 1 & 2 of the Jakirian Cycle – are now available on Amazon!

Here are the links:

Calvanni front cover (Small)Scytheman front cover (Small)

I’ll be at Supnova Brisbane this weekend – 9th & 10th November with ink-and-paper versions of all three books – The Calvanni, Scytheman and Sorcerer. Drop in and say hi:)

Sorcerer front cover (Small)

Jakirian Cycle at Supanova!

Hi, everyone. I’m planning to be at Supanova Brisbane 9-10th November with my newly hatched Jakirian Cycle (for those from USA this is the Australian version of ComiCon). I’m expecting to be hugely entertained by the cosplay and the usual antics of the crowd as I sit at my table in Artist’s Alley with fellow Queensland writers Rowena Cory Daniells and Cheryse Durrant.

The Jakirian Cycle comprises three books, The Calvanni, Scytheman, and Sorcerer. Check out the covers.

New Calvanni CoverScytheman CoverSorcerer Cover

All three are very much in the ink-and-paper realm and I’ll have a ton of copies with me at Supanova.

I’ll also have a pull-up banner designed by Daryl Linquist, who was the cover artist for the books. Check it out below.

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I love the way Daryl has touched the edges to turn the banner into an artwork.

The kindle versions should up by Supanova. I’ll be sure to make an announcement. Stay tuned for some promotional offers.

The Jakirian series is Heroic Fantasy set on the world of Yos, with unique ecology and twin suns, where all metal is magical and control of magic is the basis for power. The setting includes fantastical magical artefacts such as glowmetals, ceramic weapons and an array of new creatures.

In The Calvanni, the cavern-dwelling Eathal have emerged to wreak their vengeance on mankind. The fate of innocent thousands rests on finding the Scion – lost heir to the fallen Empire. The Temple has outlawed the ancient practice of Sorcery. Its Druids dominate religious and secular power, but are ill-equipped to resist an unknown evil once contained by the Emperors.

Scytheman follows on from events in The Calvanni. The city of Raynor is now in turmoil. False-Scion Osterac has declared himself heir to the fallen Empire and his supporters riot on the streets. Legions of non-human Eathal advance across the continent, destroying all in their path. The future of Yos lies in the balance and only the Scion can unite the shattered fragments of the fallen Empire. Pursued by the renegade Sorcerer Raziin, Cedrin and Ellen struggle to stay alive on a lawless continent torn by war. They are drawn toward a lethal contest for the awesome power of the Spear of Carris, where the identity of the true Scion will be revealed.

The three books follow Cedrin and Ellen as they face deeper and more hidden threats. Pursuing them is Raziin, a vicious renegade who seeks to claim the ultimate power of the Spear of Carris for himself. Eventually they must face a final challenge as the most ancient secrets that bind their three bloodlines are revealed.

I can’t tell you too much more about Sorcerer without spoilers.

If you are in Brisbane on the weekend of the 9-10th November, drop in and say hello. I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the weekend after the event:)

Books and Films Where the Protagonist Dies

Following on from an interesting discussion I was having a few days ago, I’ve been thinking about stories where the key protagonist dies at the end of the book. Always a controversial way to end a storyline, it can be downright book-at-the-wall territory.

I guess it comes down to what you are looking to get out of the books and films you read. If you are looking for the classic hero’s journey, losing that character – that proxy vehicle of your hopes and dreams – can be downright distressing. Then again, if you are motivated by unconventional plots and enjoy a surprise ending then it might be a pleasant experience of difference – ‘Well wasn’t that clever?’

I’ve been wracking my brains to think of books where this happens, but a number of films immediately came to mind, such as American Beauty and Sin City (where the cop – Harrigan? – kills himself at the end to save Nancy). As it happens, I did read Mark Lawrence’s ‘Emperor of Thorns’, last in his three books series. If you have not read this and want to – LOOK AWAY NOW! In the third book the narrator Jorg (and this is all first person) kills himself so that he can find and save his dead older brother in the worlds beyond (and save the world). The final sections are written by a ‘data-ghost’ of Jorg created by the ‘machines of the builders’.

In terms of plot construction and narration, it’s a tricky balance, trying to withhold enough information so the end is not telegraphed. I guess this is in the territory of the ‘unreliable narrator’.

Although I don’t really enjoy these types of endings, as long as the central character stays true to their initially sketched nature and goals, I’m willing to accept them.

So where do you come down in the debate? Can anyone out there think of a book where the narrator dies?

PS: On 9th and 10th November I’ll be at Brisbane Supanova with a whole bunch of copies of Calvanni, Scytheman and Sorcerer, hot off the press. Come and say hello.

You can also find them at on-line retailers like Amazon.

 New Calvanni CoverScytheman CoverSorcerer Cover

Reusable Rockets One Step Closer

Hey, did I mentioned the three books in my Jakirian Cycle are out:)

New Calvanni CoverScytheman CoverSorcerer Cover

 

For a while now Elon Musk’s Space X has be busily working away at developing a reusable rocket system, with both a first and second stage that can be reused with hours of return.

The Grasshopper rocket is the test vehicle for the reusable first stage. Earlier in the year this reached a height of 325m and then touched down again. In its latest test flight on October 7,  the Grasshopper reached a height of 744m and landed right back down on the launch pad. It’s an awesome thing to see. Check out the footage, which was captured by a remote controlled hexacopter stationed in the sky. The rocket lands on a dime. Amazing control.

Hey, Elon Musk, can I come work for you? I’m a real engineer, honest.

OK. Back to reality.

The plans are to continue to extend the height at which the Grasshopper stops and returns to the launch pad.

In the meantime, Space X has progressed the other part of the proposed testing regime by performing the first test on a returning Falcon 9 first stage booster. The Falcon 9’s engines were re-lit twice on the way down during the September 29 test flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The two burns eased the vehicle’s return to Earth, where it eventually splashed down over the Pacific Ocean.

The Falcon 9 v1.1 carried Canada’s CASSIOPE space-weather satellite and three smaller spacecraft to orbit. As its first stage fell back to Earth, the secondary test program was initiated.

The first burn ( where three engines were ignited for supersonic retro propulsion) enabled the returning first stage to survive atmospheric re-entry without burning up. The second burn (with a single engine) went well, although the splashdown was a little harder than planned due to a roll developed by the returning vehicle.

Exciting stuff, and right in line with Space X’s stated development path. The company now believe they have ‘. . . all the pieces to achieve a full recovery of the boost stage.’

One step closer to a true reusable rocket and a system with will get us ‘up there’ at last:)

The Jakirian Cycle Has Landed!

Hi, everyone. I’m excited to say that my Jakirian Cycle has entered the real world of ink and paper! 

For those of you read the first Calvanni edition, the two follow-on books in the Jakirian Series are finally here! 

Book 2, Scytheman, has been published in print and is available through Amazon.

Book 3, Sorcerer, will follow within days. 

The electronic and kindle versions should be available by the end of October. It’s all rock ‘n roll!

The covers look fantastic. Below are the covers for the new Calvanni edition and Scytheman, making its debut appearance. If you lay out the three books, they form a city-scape of the old Imperial Capital of Raynor, seen at three different times of day. I’ve hyperlinked the covers below to Amazon.

New Calvanni CoverScytheman Cover

 I’ll have copies of all three books to sell at Brisbane Supanova 8-10th November.

The Jakirian series is Heroic Fantasy set on the world of Yos, with unique ecology and twin suns, where all metal is magical and control of magic is the basis for power. The setting includes fantastical magical artefacts such as glowmetals, ceramic weapons and an array of new creatures.

One of my all-time favourite writers is David Gemmell, so it’s no surprise that the Jakirian Cycle has strong themes of Heroic Fantasy.

In The Calvanni, the cavern-dwelling Eathal have emerged to wreak their vengeance on mankind. The fate of innocent thousands rests on finding the Scion – lost heir to the fallen Empire. The Temple has outlawed the ancient practice of Sorcery. Its Druids dominate religious and secular power, but are ill-equipped to resist an unknown evil once contained by the Emperors.

Scytheman follows on from events in The Calvanni. The city of Raynor is now in turmoil. False-Scion Osterac has declared himself heir to the fallen Empire and his supporters riot on the streets. Legions of non-human Eathal advance across the continent, destroying all in their path. The future of Yos lies in the balance and only the Scion can unite the shattered fragments of the fallen Empire. Pursued by the renegade Sorcerer Raziin, Cedrin and Ellen struggle to stay alive on a lawless continent torn by war. They are drawn toward a lethal contest for the awesome power of the Spear of Carris, where the identity of the true Scion will be revealed.

More about the series next week:)

Dealing with the Cast of Thousands

I’m pleased to announce that my fantasy series, the Jakirian Cycle, is finished! All the last edits are done and it should be hitting both the real and electronic shelves around October.

It’s exciting to have completed the trilogy, and it will be great to end the wait for those who started the series with The Calvanni, either in its 2006 Australian print incarnation or its later 2009 electronic version.

One of the things I grappled with Jakirian Cycle (typical of fantasy series) was the considerably wide scope of the story. Without giving too much of the plot away, at the start of The Calvanni the Eathal – the cavern dwelling cousin-species to humans – are launching a major offensive on the remnants of a once vast human Empire. But this is very much in the background.

In the first book the central characters are struggling to survive amid civil strife and assassination attempts (Ellen), while dealing with the emergence of their own unique magical powers (Cedrin).

In the second book, the first major engagements are taking place between the Eathal and the last few human Legions, but the focus is still on the characters and their personal journeys and the mystery of the Scion (the lost heir to the fallen Empire).

In Sorcerer – third book of the trilogy – the clash of human and Eathal occurs on a massive scale. Tens of thousands of human and Eathal troops are fighting across two major fronts. From the PoV of the central characters, they are being drawn more and more into the centre of power in Yos. Both Cedrin and Ellen find themselves right at the core of the reestablished Bulvuran Empire. Amidst all this are the various Warlords who divided up the fallen Empire. The most powerful of whom is facing the Eathal in southern Yos while being heavily outnumbered and under strength in the magical department. To do justice to this, I needed to make that Warlord a PoV character, and needed to portray these major engagements.

Various subplots that have been in the background since the first book all come to the fore in Sorcerer. All of this led to the introduction of a lot of new characters. Each is important to the story in some way, but most are not central or point-of-view characters. Trying to control this crowd, and do them justice was certainly a challenge!

Numerous times I’ve had to scramble back through the book and insert a few key paragraphs. ‘Oh, Damn! Such-and-such was still with Cedrin in that scene.’  or ‘Oh, crap. Where were they when that combat was happening?’ I need to keep them in the picture, but without diluting the thread of the main character too much. There were so many of these minor characters it really proved a teeth-grinding experience. Oh for a simple story! I am my own worst enemy with this. Yet with book three  I also tried to lay the foundation for the ultimate conclusion of what might extend to a possible six books series. Don’t worry – Sorcerer ends with a great climax and the first three books stand as a trilogy.

If you love battle scenes, Sorcerer will definitely be your sort of thing. In that regard it is my homage to David Gemmell:) Using the unique magic of Yos, including the glowmetals, on that scale was a real buzz.

Back to dealing with multiple characters: I always try to maintain the focus of the story through a small number of key point-of-view characters. There may be many other characters introduced to support the story, or to give the setting the feel of the political landscape, but I try to have these experienced through the viewpoint of the key characters. I think it can even aid the tension in the story to have the motivations of these characters unclear – and that’s hard to pull off if they are the narrator. It’s also surprising how much you can convey objectively, without having to make them a PoV character.

It is a tricky balance though. It’s hard to do them all justice, to convey their motivations and to give the reader a sense that these minor characters are moving through the story not just being present as a background cut-out. More than once I shook my head writing Sorcerer and said ‘What the Hell have I got myself into?’

Still, I think it’s worth it to see the various sub-plots come into effect. It gives the whole thing a depth and complexity.

Have you ever been frustrated by the Cast of Thousands? How do you deal with it? Kill them off? Limit their appearances? Tear up your draft?

Off to Supanova

Hi, everyone. I’m off to Supanova on the Gold Coast (Aus equivalent of Comicon) this weekend to sell and sign some copies of my fantasy novel The Calvanni. It should be a fun couple of days. Sitting at the table is usually quite entertaining with all the cosplay. Last year there was an excellent Sauron costume that had in-built stilts – truly awesome 7 foot plus figure striding around with his fluted mace – and a Predator and an Alien, who of course duked it out for the crowd. I also managed to get a photo of a large bear reading The Calvanni, which was fun.

Wish me luck. I’ll bring back photos.

Anyone going to Supanova Gold Coast?