The Momentum Blog

Exclusive excerpt: The Bloody Quarrel episode 5

Posted January 4, 2016 by Michelle Cameron

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“This is an outrage and if this is the way you intend to run the city, you can forget about the support of the Guilds,” the new head of the Bankers Guild declared.

Fallon glowered at him but a sheaf of requests for money had arrived just that morning from the nobles of the neighboring counties. With money he could purchase, through them, food and goods from counties further away. The food situation was better but it seemed there were many other things the city needed for winter, from firewood to wool for clothing, while the animals stabled within the city to be slaughtered and eaten later needed fodder for the next moon or two. He might get enough gold if he raided the Bankers Guildhouse or he might not. And he could not take the risk.

“What are you talking about?” he asked innocently.

“Duchess Dina. Arrested in the square outside this castle! The Guilds are all happy to deal with her but if she is imprisoned or executed then we shall have to rethink our support,” the Banker said loftily.

“And what if I decided to come calling and look into your affairs, see whether you are secretly worshipping Zorva?” Fallon challenged.

The Banker sat up straighter. “We have all sworn loyalty to Aroaril,” he said. “And if you destroy the Guilds you will throw this city into chaos. No merchant will deal with you and none of the nobles sending food and goods in from the counties will trust you. Duchess Dina was someone we could all deal with. You, on the other hand, are the man who gutted the King in front of a cheering crowd. They are too afraid to work with you.”

Fallon leaned back in his chair, his mind racing. Was this part of Dina’s plans? Had she made the Guilds secret promises in exchange for their support if anything should happen to her? Do we even need the Guilds? Why not just march into every Guildhouse, arrest their leaders and take their money, share it out among the people? It was tempting but they were clever men. They would have planned for this possibility, while he had not. By the time he had men mustered and marching, the Guildsmen would be scattering like rats in torchlight. Unless he got their leaders and their money then he was creating more trouble. He had to get ready for a fight with the Kottermanis and make sure Bridgit got back safely. Fighting his own people in Berry, even if they were Guildsmen, was foolish.

“Well, I am afraid you are mistaken,” he said. “Duchess Dina was not arrested. She is merely resting in her townhouse. We have had a strenuous few days of fast marches and hard camps. Not something she was really used to. She will be available for meetings tomorrow, where she can tell you herself.”

He smiled at the Banker, thinking that he could take a page from Aidan’s schemes.

The Banker looked uncertainly at him. “She was not arrested? Not taken screaming and crying into the castle?”

Fallon made himself laugh lightly. “A foolish jest between friends. She will tell you herself when you see her tomorrow. Shall we say noon, so she does not have to rise early? Bring as many Guild leaders as you feel necessary.”

He could see the confusion on the Banker’s face and enjoyed it. If nothing else, this would buy him enough time to be ready to search every Guildhouse at a moment’s notice.

“We understand the Duchess might be tired after the success of your march through the counties. We shall make it brief.”

“Excellent,” Fallon said. “Well, if there is nothing else that concerns you?”

“No, that was my reason for visiting.”

“Good. Well, I am glad I could clear that up. And after you have met with the Duchess, we can perhaps discuss terms for a short-term loan to keep the city operating?”

He saw the man out to the door, where Gallagher was ready to take him back out of the castle.

“What are we going to do? That traitorous bitch is not going to help us,” Devlin said. “What in Aroaril’s name were you thinking of when you said that?”

“She will help us. She has spent a night in the cells. We offer her the chance to live in her townhouse and, if she behaves, the chance to go and live quietly in the country somewhere after all this is over.”

“Why not keep her here, right under our thumb, in her rooms?” Gallagher asked.

“Partly because we need to use them but mainly because I don’t want her hearing or knowing what is going on around here. Who knows what servants she has in her pay?”

Brendan thumped the table. “I will not see her get away with it!” he growled.

“And nor will she. We will lie to her, pure and simple. And at all times she will have two dozen guards around her. Men we trust. If she tries anything then she will suffer a tragic accident. And we shall be ready to raid the Guildhouses at a moment’s notice, if they kick up a fuss.”

Brendan grimaced. “I don’t trust her any further than I can throw her.”

“Well, that could be quite a way,” Padraig said with a wink. “She’s pretty small, you know.”

“This is not a laughing matter,” Devlin said.

“No, it’s not. But we need to use everything we can to get this city ready for the Kottermanis. If that means tricking and lying to Dina, then so be it. We have just forced the nobles around here to help us. If they smell weakness then they will all stop the food coming and then we will have even more trouble,” Fallon said forcefully. “And what about the Guild of Magic? With their help, we have blinded Swane. If they turn against us then we would have more problems than a lack of flour. I would not like Swane to see how weak we really are here.”

He looked around the table and they all nodded, even Brendan.

“We had better keep a close eye on her though,” he added. “We’ll pick at least a score of our best recruits and put Casey in charge.”

“Not one of us?” Brendan suggested.

Fallon shook his head. “We’re too well known. The Guilds will smell a rat if we are there. They don’t know Casey.”

“Aroaril, I hope you are right about this,” Devlin said. “It might be safer to keep her here.”

“Would you invite a snake into your house? I fear she will be up to mischief here. In her townhouse she will be all alone, watched by a score of our best men at all times and only those we allow can enter. I don’t like keeping her around any more than you do but you heard that bloody Guildsman. People are talking and we don’t have the time or the energy to waste on fighting inside Berry. We have to get ready for the Kottermanis. Besides, there is a kind of justice to it. She used us to help her plans. So we use her now.”


The Bloody Quarrel: episode 5 is released on the 7th of January.

Pre-order your copy now!

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Cover reveal – Limerence: Book Three of The Cure by Charlotte McConaghy

Posted December 11, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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No injection can cure love. Only life can do that.

Deep in the darkest tunnels hide the last of the resistance fighters. Hunted by the savage Furies and the ruthless Bloods, they live in constant peril. The only means of survival is to seek strength in family and find courage in love. So what happens when love is cured, scoured away, leaving death in its place?

In the final battle for freedom, there are no lines that won’t be crossed. And for Josi this means becoming the creature she fears most of all: the girl with a blood moon heart.

The gripping conclusion to the dystopian trilogy The Cure, Limerence is a love story for the monsters within.

Perfect for fans of Pierce Brown, Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

Limerence: Book Three of The Cure (Omnibus Edition) is released on the 14th of April. Pre-order your copy now!

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Exclusive excerpt: The Bloody Quarrel: Episode 2

Posted December 9, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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Prince Kemal looked out over the water and sighed. Then he turned to look at his family, his wife Feray and sons Asil and Orhan, and smiled.

“What is it, my Lord?” his wife asked, her voice gentle and musical.

Kemal did not need to glance around to see if anyone was listening. His people knew better than to disturb his privacy. They were alone on the high stern deck, looking out over the endless ocean that divided Kotterman from Gaelland.

“I wonder whether we will like it there,” he said. Many men, in fact most men, would not confide in their wives, let alone discuss matters of great import with them. But Feray was not an ordinary woman. He had married her because it solidified his father’s grip on a vital part of the Empire, but he had swiftly fallen in love with her anyway. Their sons were eight and six summers of age and another source of joy to him, although they were less interested in what he was saying and more curious about a pair of dolphins that were swimming alongside the ship.

“How can we not? We will be representing your father and the great Empire of Kotterman, bringing a new province into its boundaries for the first time in one hundred years,” she said.

He chuckled. “I know what we are supposed to do. I question why.”

She cocked her head on one side. “Tell me, my Lord.”

Kemal smiled and enfolded her in his arms. “Do you know why I have taken no other woman?” he asked. “Although my brothers believe an oath to Aroaril is no oath at all?”

“Because you know I would remove your manhood with a rusty knife?” she suggested with a grin.

“Well, that also. But the real reason is I could never find anyone with half as much sense as you. This business with Gaelland concerns me deeply. When my forefathers began to expand our Empire, they could not stop once they had started, because there were always enemies across the border who wanted our riches, as well as allies who wanted our trade. But we have no border with Gaelland and it is a huge distance from my father. And their King is a strange man. We talk to him because we must but he reminds me of a shark. It looks like he is smiling all the time, he even appears foolish on occasion, but then you catch sight of his eyes and you realize there is something evil there.”

Feray shuddered a little. “But surely we have nothing to fear from him? There are too few of them and they are too poor to cause us concern.”

“That is what my father thinks. But all he has done is read the reports on this King Aidan. He has never met the man. Although that is one thing about Gaelland coming under the Kotterman Empire. If we remove Aidan from the throne, it will actually help the people.”

“Do you believe that?”

He smiled. “More than that, I know it to be true. Our agents have been meeting with people from the King’s eldest son, Prince Cavan. Many of the nobles would like to see the end of Aidan’s rule and the Crown Prince assures our agents they would welcome Kottermani rule if their positions are preserved and the lives of their people improved. Obviously I will need to meet with this Cavan myself, as well as the nobles he claims support him. It will influence my talks with King Aidan, although it is up to me to make my father’s dream come true.”

“What are you going to do, my love?”

Kemal kissed her on the head. “What I must. I can never forget that I have three brothers, all of whom would love to sit on the Elephant Throne one day. As you say, Gaelland is the first new province to be brought into the Empire since my great-great-grandfather’s time. My father lusts more for it than he has for any woman. He feels the touch of Aroaril on his shoulder and wants to leave his mark on the history scrolls. If I do not do this, then he will find another who will.”

Her arms tightened around him. “I do not care if you are the Emperor or just a man. I would still be with you,” she said against his chest.

He chuckled. “Let us never put that to the test!”

He might have said more, but his sons came running over then, the dolphins forgotten, wanting to show him how they had been learning the sword, brandishing their wooden practice blades.

“Come then, let us see how good you are!” Kemal challenged them, winking at his wife’s indulgent smile as he defended himself against the children.

Asil, the older of the two, was slim and fast, while Orhan was younger but already stocky and solid through the chest and shoulders, and his blows had the same power as his older brother’s, albeit without the speed.

Kemal fended the two of them off easily, his footing sure and quick, making them bump into each other and occasionally using his wooden sword to tap one of them, all the while telling them what to do better.

“Enough!” he cried finally, as Orhan abandoned his sword and grabbed him around the leg. “I am defeated by you!”

“Really, Baba?” Orhan asked, looking up at his father in delight.

“No!” Kemal laughed, grabbing them both in his arms.

Their laughter echoed across the ship as Feray called down to servants for refreshments to be brought up.


Grab your copy here!

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Cover reveal: Limerence episodes 1-3 by Charlotte McConaghy

Posted December 4, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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Limerence: Episode 1


No injection can cure love. Only life can do that.

Deep in the darkest tunnels hide the last of the resistance fighters. Hunted by the savage Furies and the ruthless Bloods, they live in constant peril. The only means of survival is to seek strength in family and find courage in love. So what happens when love is cured, scoured away, leaving death in its place?

In the final battle for freedom, there are no lines that won’t be crossed. And for Josi this means becoming the creature she fears most of all: the girl with a blood moon heart.

The gripping conclusion to the dystopian trilogy The Cure, Limerence is a love story for the monsters within.

Perfect for fans of Pierce Brown, Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

Released 11th February 2016. Pre-order now!

Limerence: Episode 2


Killing a Blood asks for a piece of your soul.

The Josephine that has returned to the tunnels is a version broken by her disappearance. And while she is propelling the resistance fighters toward action, demanding knife-edge precision, Luke is tormented by his lost memories and the transformation of his wife. His desperation to understand grows by the day, threatening his ability to lead his people.

As relationships shift, new alliances form and secrets hang heavy, the tunnels grow ever more dangerous.

Who exactly has Josephine Luquet become, and what is she hiding?

Perfect for fans of Pierce Brown, Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

Released 25th February 2016. Pre-order now!

Limerence: Episode 3


Hal spoke of taming the animal within. But I think he was wrong. I think we’re meant to let it free.

Josi is lost in the wilderness, surrounded by the savagery of an animal world. With the horror of her memories finally revealed, she becomes more and more like the creatures holding her captive.

This is what it takes to survive, and surviving is what Josephine does. If cutting ties to her once-happy life is the price she must pay for the atrocities she’s committed, then cut them she will. Love slips through hands drenched in blood, after all, and Falon Shay must die.

But what exactly is she fighting for, if she truly believes that love can be cured?

In the conclusion to the thrilling dystopian trilogy The Cure, Josephine and Luke face the greatest enemy of all: the one that lies within.

Perfect for fans of Pierce Brown, Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

Released 10th March, 2016. Pre-order now!

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Guest post: Duncan Lay

Posted November 30, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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Battle. The great redeemer. The fiery crucible in which true heroes are forged. A place where cowards can find redemption.

I’ve paraphrased that from Bill Paxton’s Master Sergeant Farell from Edge Of Tomorrow. As a speech it’s right up there with the best he gave as Trooper Hudson in Aliens, right before he sadly got snaffled by the aliens and a mournful Hicks (Michael Beihn) pumped him full of lead so no lousy stinking alien could eat its way out of him. In that vein, Edge Of Tomorrow is a sci-fi romp in which you can enjoy wacky midget Tom Cruise getting killed, over and over again. Aliens kill him, stupidity kills him, Emily Blunt kills him. I never tire of seeing it.

Spoiler alert here: Over the course of about 150 deaths, he slowly transforms from a cowardly, lying, blackmailing weasel into the man who saves the human race and gets Emily Blunt to fall in love with him. Of course, in real life, she’d use her alien-fighting exoskeleton to pound his Scientology-spouting face but in the movie, you can sort of believe it. Because battle can do that. It can change people, it can change worlds.

People often ask why I love battles in my books. Some of them won’t buy it until they know there are good battles there. One man even wanted me to count the pages of the biggest battle in the series. It had to be over 50 pages or he wasn’t having a bar of it. I’ve even signed books hoping the reader “enjoys the blood spray”. Hey, you buy my book, I’ll sign whatever you want on there!

By way of answering why I love battles, I refer you to Master Sergeant Farell. In battle, anything can happen.

History tells us that a single arrow can change the course of history, especially when (allegedly) it lands in the eye of a king. But England, in fact the world was changed by the way the Saxon King Harold was killed by William the Norman.

If there is a common theme in my books, it is that whole countries, continents and even the world are at stake. The pressure of that, combined with the fear of battle, can do incredible things to characters. And I love to explore that.

Now I should mention that, despite signing books that extol the virtues of blood spraying across the pages, I do not glorify violence. In fact, the impact of battle, of fighting for your life, has a huge effect on my characters. Some cannot handle it. All come away knowing that battle is a terrible place. When the fate of the world is on a knife’s edge, then things can get bloody.

It is in that narrow place, when things are not safe and indeed even beloved characters can be killed, that I love to play with my characters. I like to explore them, test them and see what comes out of that fiery crucible.

The Bloody Quarrel sees battles taking place unlike anything I have ever written before.

There is a battle fought in a torrential storm, where even the world around them seems to be fighting. At stake is the fate of a two nations but it will have ramifications far beyond that.

Heroes will rise and heroes will fall. Fear abounds and not just that little jump-scare type of fear but more like the bowel-loosening, end-of-the-world, where every breath seems impossibly sweet and every sense is unbelievably heightened fear.

People will change, relationships will change, countries will change.

How can you not love that?


The Bloody Quarrel: Episode 1 is out on the 3rd of December. Pre-order your copy now!

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Cover reveal – The Bloody Quarrel: Complete Edition by Duncan Lay

Posted November 11, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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The prince is dead.

Fooled by the treacherous King Aidan, Fallon has shot down the one man he trusted to save his beloved nation of Gaelland. And yet, when the King could grind Fallon underfoot, he draws the simple farmer and fighter closer, making a hero of him.

Embroiled in plots beyond his comprehension and weighted with the guilt of the prince’s murder, Fallon must tread carefully if he is to accomplish the task that first brought him to the cursed capital: rescue his wife, Bridgit, and the rest of his village from Kottermani slavery. If he and his hopelessly ensnared men can survive, they may yet find redemption.

Meanwhile, across the ocean, Bridgit is rallying those around her to spring an escape. But who can be trusted? The ever-present danger of traitors and liars among the slaves, and even among her fellow Gaelish, is poison to her plans.

With an ocean between them and fouler nightmares looming, Fallon and Bridgit will be driven to their very limits to escape their prisons, find each other, and bring justice to Gaelland.

This epic fantasy is perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Joe Abercrombie.

The Bloody Quarrel: Complete Edition is released on the 11th of February. Pre-order your copy now!

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Angela Slatter guest post – Worldbuilding

Posted October 14, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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Amongst the sweetest phrases I’ve ever heard from my mother’s lips are “I love you”, “I’ve made lemon meringue pie” (those two meaning, essentially, the same thing), and “Once upon a time”. All three still fill me with roughly the same degree of happiness, but I don’t hear that last one anymore. It’s not for lack of trying; I do keep asking.

“Tell me a story?”

“You’re forty-eight years old.”

“And you’re seventy-one, so tell me a story before you forget how!”

So far no luck. Come to think of it, the lemon meringues have been a bit thin on the ground, too. Hmmm.


Nevertheless, the thrill of “Once upon a time” never leaves me, never dims. It’s the story addict’s equivalent of a ringing bell and the response is equally Pavlovian. I know, when I hear those words, that I will be transported. That the room or train carriage or café or bus in which I’m sitting is about to disappear; I will be elsewhere. It might be familiar, a beloved territory visited over and again, or a place unexpectedly remade and strange. It can be as static as my memory chooses or as mutable, sometimes with just small details tweaked or enlarged, a colour shaded from pale pink to blood red, with snow-white sequins or wings as black as ebony added in for good measure.

The once-upon-a-time world is one I’m (mostly) in charge of, so when I decided to write it should have been the easiest thing on the planet to do the worldbuilding, right?

Apparently not.

All the years of being read to, and then reading myself, had laid down an entire universe (or series of them) in my messy mind. You’d think making up my own fairy tales would be a simple matter of checking the brain-shelves for tropes and motifs, then placing story brick upon story brick. Alas no. I tormented myself with ideas of how complex any ‘verse I created would have to be. There were many − oh, so many − false starts! with me trying to build layer on intricate layer of fantasy world. I made up too many rules, too many boundaries; I boxed myself and my story in. Nothing worked; failed attempts littered my life and my wastepaper bin.

But, in recent years while studying for an MA and a PhD, I became fascinated about the intersection between memory and fairy tales. About what those tales, which we’re told again and again, leave behind in the conscious and unconscious mind. About how there are triggers that get us into a certain way of thinking − for example, “Once upon a time”. About the kinds of communal knowledge that fairy tales (of no matter what culture) are designed to embed, whether it be warnings about wolves or demons or leaving paths or how to be a chosen girl who gets the prince. So, I thought, if there are breadcrumbs already there, all I need to do is suggest to the reader something that triggers those notions and ideas.

As I went back to the old tales, I realised how many versions there were of the same story, across time and continents and cultures − Cinderella started out as a story written by Strabo in the 1st Century BCE about a courtesan, Rhodopis, and later versions include Finette Cendrillon (France), Aschenputtel (Germany), Ye Xian (China), and Cenerentola (Italy). The thing they all share is this: they take place in our world or a recognisable version of it. They are partly bounded by the everyday, but what frees them and sets them apart is the idea (and acceptance of it by the reader) of a functioning magic system. All I had to do was work with what was there, rather than against it.


The fairy tale world offers a series of ‘set pieces’ that can be deployed to set a scene and a reader’s expectations, elaborated on to add depth and conviction, then tweaked to give the story its uniqueness. You want to pull a reader in and make them comfortable − give them the best chair, a mug of hot chocolate, and some gingerbread cookies fresh from the oven − before you tell them that said cookies are made of something dreadful and they, the reader, will soon turn into a frog. Make the world seem familiar first, then scare the pants off them; that order is very important.

The other thing I realised was this: each reader puts their own overlay on the top of my words, sees my descriptions in their own particular way due to what they bring the story. So there’s a meshing of what I’m tapping into as the teller of the tale, the ideas I’m suggesting, and the cultural capital to which are my readers heir. Not being a mind-reader, I can’t know precisely what each reader carries into the story, but I can do my level best to leave enough hints to hopefully trigger something in their brain, in their memories either conscious or otherwise.

The first fairy tale I wrote successfully − or rather re-wrote/re-worked/reloaded − was ‘The Little Match Girl’. Coincidentally, it’s the first tale I recall my mother reading to me; I know she read many others before and after, yet I remember this one because I found the ending so traumatic. I knew the tone I wanted, I knew how I wanted the protagonist to fit in the story. I wrote setting descriptors that suggested a timeless medieval world: villages and healers and a drowning pool. The main character wasn’t some helpless, victimised child; she became the granddaughter of a witch, however with no magical power of her own. Writing that story and succeeding with it taught me a lot, and the techniques I picked up were funnelled into future tales. I worked with elements of myth and history and fairy tales that interested me and I twisted them away from their traditional shape − for example, the idea of the shifters in Of Sorrow and Such comes from a bit of lore picked up over thirty years ago from Mildred Kirk’s The Everlasting Cat.

Eventually, I knew enough to put together Sourdough and Other Stories, which collected some previously published pieces (they’d been waiting patiently for me to grow up − they knew where they belonged), and a whole lot of new ones written quite specifically for that collection. I went on the expand the world in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, and it’s also where Of Sorrow and Such occurs. It’s a world more serious and dangerous than a fairy tale universe, there are ever-echoing consequences and even the happily-ever-afters have Monkey’s Paw elements. Here, enchantment is real, it is an everyday thing; in some places it’s embraced, in others it’s feared. Some girls are born witches, others are utterly untouched by eldritch power, like the novella’s Gilly who barely registers on the witch’s scale. Magic, small or large, white or black, has a cost, whether it be your blood, your love, an item of value, or a life, yours or another’s. It’s a casual thing to those blessed or cursed by it. Though in Edda’s Meadow it must be kept secret, Patience and Selke practise their sorcery with ease; it’s second nature to them and they know what they do works as it should − they’re not simply playing at witchcraft.

As for how it appears to me, the physical detail, the clutter? It’s a mash-up of my favourite clothing and jewellery, art and architecture, literature and food, leading figures and legends from different time periods − I get to Mix Up All The Things. I remember the first time I saw Neil Jordan’s film of Carter’s The Company of Wolves: it was as though the world of fairy tales in my head had leaked out. The look of the cottages and the forest, the costumes, etc, were very close to large parts of Sourdough. I must admit, however, that in my world there’s indoor plumbing. I can tell my friend and frequent illustrator, Kathleen Jennings, that a dress should look like a cross between a Victorian era housecoat and a seventeenth-century mantua; it will make her cry, but I know she’ll come back with just the right mashed-up thing. My cities and villages will, depending on the tone of the story, have elements of English, French, German, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, or Nordic architecture for extra flavour. In my head, Edda’s Meadow looks mostly like an eighteenth-century English town crossed with bits of a German Medieval town like Würzburg. No, I’m not crazy, you’re crazy. Anyway, it’s my sandbox.

I guess this means my worldbuilding is mimetic, creating a mirror image of our world before making it different; making a reader think they know how things work, then showing them that they really don’t. One of my favourite examples of this is, again, the The Company of Wolves film, where one of the tales finishes with scenes of a witch sitting on the highest branches of a pine tree (if I remember correctly), rocking her baby’s cradle while wolves sing a lullaby below. It’s such a perfect image, so rich: the very mundane sight of the mother sending her child to sleep, juxtaposed onto that strange and wild territory of treetops.

The world of Sourdough, Bitterwood, and Of Sorrow and Such has its feet firmly planted in the old fairy tales told to me long ago by my mother, those of the Grimms and Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a world supplemented over the years by my own reading of Angela Carter and Madame d’Aulnoy, Marina Warner and Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Emma Donoghue and Giambattista Basile, Margo Lanagan and Juliet Marillier, Tanith Lee and Straparola. There’s a really strong connection, in my fiction, between the worlds of the past and the present. Every time I re-imagine a fairy tale, every time I create a new piece of the Sourdough universe, I feel myself joined to a long line of tellers. I’m always aware that the old tales don’t die, they just transform, and I recall the line from Clive Barker’s Weaveworld, ‘That which is imagined need never be lost.’

Perhaps, if I imagine hard enough, it might just work with lemon meringue pie too.

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The Last Quarrel – book tour!

Posted September 18, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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To celebrate the release of The Last Quarrel in print, Duncan Lay will be touring around NSW, the ACT and Victoria in October, hitting up some book conventions as well as book stores.

If you come along to one of those days then you could take part in a fun Twitter/Facebook giveaway that could see you win a book pack or maybe enjoy a discount for the eBook to go with your print edition …


(This is Duncan, he’ll be the man near the table with the sharpie.)

Here’s where you can catch Duncan:

Thurs Oct 1:

Dymocks Canberra: 11am

Dymocks Tuggeranong: 2pm

Friday Oct 2:

Dymocks Belconnen 10am

Hooked On Books Batemans Bay 2.30pm

Saturday Oct 3:

Shoalhaven Superheroes convention (booksales for DeanSwift ABC Books Nowra)

Tuesday Oct 6

Galaxy Books 11am

Wed Oct 7

Dymocks George Street store: 12pm

Thurs Oct 8:

11am: Dymocks Penrith

5pm: Dymocks Macquarie Centre

Friday Oct 9:

11am: Dymocks Burwood

2.30pm: Dymocks Chatswood

Sat Oct 10:

Dymocks Tuggerah 1pm

Sun Oct 11:

Dymocks Rouse Hill 11am

Wed Oct 14:

Dymocks Collins St Melbourne: 11am

Dymocks Victoria Gardens: 2pm

Thurs Oct 15:

Dymocks Knox: 10am

Dymocks Glen Waverley 1pm

Dymocks Southland: 5pm

Fri Oct 16:

Dymocks Eastland 10am

Dymocks Doncaster 1pm

Sat Oct 17:

Dymocks Parramatta

Sun Oct 18:

Sydney Book Expo at Olympic Park

Thursday October 22:

Event night at Berkelouw Hornsby: 6pm

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Buy Dad this Father’s Day!

Posted September 4, 2015 by Emily Stamm

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You can buy this card (and some other awesome geeky cards!) from


This weekend is Father’s Day, and you might be wondering what to buy your dad. A tie? A new hammer? Why don’t you get your dad the best gift of all and share your passion for science fiction and fantasy?


If your dad loves VINTAGE CARS….

Buy him Christine by Stephen King. It’s an oldie but a goodie about a possessed car that kills a bunch of people. What’s not to love? Bonus! There’s even a movie you can watch together after he reads the book!



Buy him World War Z by Max Brooks. This is an amazing book set up as an “oral history of the zombie war.” Brooks takes us to surviving groups of humans all over the world, and we see the social and political complications the zombies caused.


There’s a movie for this one too, but if you like your dad you probably want to skip it.


If your dad loves  SURVIVALISM…

Buy him The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. (Maybe your dad is into politics AND survivalism and you can get him two books! What a good offspring you would be!) The Zombie Survival Guide is an amazing parody of a more traditional survival guide. It has tips, advice, and history lessons about how to deal with the dead rising.


If your dad loves THE OUTDOORS….

Buy him The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. In this great science fiction series people learn how to visit infinite parallel Earths. Most metals can’t pass between the worlds, so people who settle on alternate Earths start out from scratch like old fashioned pioneers. Bonus: If he likes it, there are three more you can buy him!


If your dad loves SPORTS…,204,203,200_.jpg

Buy him Future Sports edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. This is a great sci-fi short story collection all about, you guessed it, sports. It features stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Andrew Weiner, and Kim Stanley Robinson (among others.)


If your dad loves CHESS…

Buy him The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. While the most obvious choice might be Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, this is a more recent book where chess becomes a major plot point. It’s wonderful and your dad will love it.


If your dad loves MUSIC…

Buy him Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. The main character is a space-ship who collects songs from all across the galaxy. Snippets of the fictional songs are weaved throughout the book and feel like an important, natural part of the world Leckie has created.


If your dad loves IRISH HISTORY….

Buy him The Last Quarrel by Duncan Lay. Lay pulls from Irish history and folklore in his engrossing episodic fantasy series, now available in print! Check out more about the links to history here: Gaelland – The World of the Last Quarrel. 


And if your Dad already a geek? AWESOME! See if you can find a signed copy of his favorite book at your local bookshop, ebay, or


Are you getting anything really awesome for your father this year? Tell us in the comments below!


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5 Pitches for the Next Gritty Hollywood Remake

Posted August 7, 2015 by Emily Stamm

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These days, Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of rebooting our favorite books into gritty dystopian movies and television shows. The latest beloved classic to suffer this fate is Little Women. The loving sisters are going to be uncovering conspiracies and trying not to kill each other in Philadelphia, while we watch and wonder how on Earth someone thought this was a good idea.

Let’s take a look at how we could remake five other childhood favorites into ridiculous television drama or made for t.v. movies.


The Secret Garden
Is it so hard to imagine this + opium smuggling?


After her parents are murdered, sixteen-year old Mary Lennox is sent to live with her reclusive uncle. She’s miserable until she discovers a mysterious locked garden…with an attractive boy inside! Mary breaks into the garden and is shocked to discover that eighteen year old Dickon is running her uncle’s opium smuggling operation out of…The Secret Garden. We’ll kill cousin Colin off early, throw in a dash of star-crossed lovers from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and BAM! You’ve got a hit.


Charlotte’s Web

A pig, a spider, a revolution.


Wilbur the pig is shunned by the other barnyard animals, until Charlotte the spider takes an interest in him. She is the leader behind a group of animals who want to revolt against humans and take their lives into their own hands. Charlotte comes with with a scheme to spell words in her webs, manipulating the humans to think that Wilbur is chosen by God and should not be slaughtered after the fair. She begins convincing them that he should be set free, along with all the other farm animals, but is tragically killed in childbirth before her plan can come to fruition. Almost all of her children flee as soon as they hatch, but three remain behind to carry on her fight to free the animals.


Anne of Green Gables

That smile has never been innocent…


Anne’s parents are killed by rival wizards when she is a baby, leaving her to float from foster home to orphanage and back again. When she is in her early teens, she is accidentally sent to the Cuthberts on Prince Edward Island. Furious that she isn’t a boy, they threaten to send her back. Anne casts a spell that makes them, and the entire town, adore her. The wizards who killed her parents find Anne, and she must battle them while maintaining her spell on the town. Scenes of note include the wizards changing the raspberry cordial into currant wine in order to discredit Anne; Wizards trying to kill Anne, but instead killing Matthew; and Anne becoming a powerful enough witch to teach at the Prince Edward Island equivalent to Hogwarts.


A Little Princess

Wouldn’t this just be 100x better if it was in space?


Young Sara Crewe is taken by her father to one of the best boarding schools on the moon in 2075. Knowing her father is a rich explorer who has been doubling his fortune every five years on Mars, they treat her like a little princess. A few years later, the school receives word that Captain Crewe’s whole team was lost on Mars during a dust storm, and he was most certainly dead. The school, especially the headmistress, begin treating Sara like a servant. She regularly has to go outside in a spacesuit to collect rocks and clean dust off the solar panels (because space). Meanwhile, a mysterious man moves in next door to the school. He slowly recovers his memory, and realizes that he was the lead scientist on Captain Crewe’s mission, and that’s why he has a research monkey living with him. The monkey escapes (in a tiny monkey spacesuit) and Sara finds him while cleaning solar panels. When returning the monkey to the mysterious stranger, they learn of their connection.

Bonus sequel: The mysterious stranger and Sara go back to Mars to try and recover Captain Crewe’s body. Once there, they find that the whole crew has become zombies. Space zombies.


Little House on the Prairie

If there’s one thing the Little House books need, it’s more grit!


A few decades after most of the world was wiped out by nuclear bombs, the Ingalls family struggles to survive in the desolate wasteland that was once America. If we change the tone of the narrator from unending optimism to resignation, we can even keep most of the major plot points the same! Everyone gets malaria, sister Mary goes blind, locusts eat all the crops, nuclear winter strands the family in their log cabin, and there are so many chores to be done. Think of the possibilities for costumes! Special effects! Dramatic acting! There is no way this wouldn’t be a hit.


Whether you love them or hate them, we want to hear your thoughts on the gritty reboot trend. Do you have any hope at all for the new Little Women series?

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Extract – Melancholy: Book Two of The Cure by Charlotte McConaghy

Posted June 2, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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Chapter one


Sometimes when I sit here I feel like all the heat in the whole world has come to keep me company, cocooning the two of us in an inferno. It’s so hot out here it makes it hard to breathe.

I imagine words, thousands of them, forming conversations and sentences we never said when you were awake. I imagine the things I will tell you when you open your eyes, if you ever do. I imagine a world of truth that never existed for us in the beginning.

They tell me that it’s unlikely. That I shouldn’t hope. Here in the west they know a lot about hope. They know how to ration it just as they do with food and water. They dole out hope in tiny pieces, clutching it in their hard, calloused hands, spreading it thin so that it lasts and lasts until its very edges, until they have wrung it dry. They recognize when it is real and when it is false. They know that to hope can mean to survive, but so too can it destroy you.

They tell me, every morning, that today will be your last day. That today I should say my goodbyes, harden my heart, let you go. They have dispensed with any remnants of hope—there is none left for this, for us. You have been asleep for too long, they tell me. I must let you go.

They know a lot out here. They understand a lot.

But they do not understand you, Luke Townsend.

And they do not understand me.


September 18th 2065


Every fiber in my body has reached a state beyond exhaustion, but I can’t let myself fall asleep. Instead I sit slouched in this sticky leather seat, watching the blackness rush past the window, rocked into a dull state of trance by the noisy hum of the train.

Luke’s head lies in my lap, the rest of his big body draped over the seat next to me. There’s no blood—he looks to be in perfect shape, and he’s breathing normally. I don’t really understand how a body could just shut down into this kind of sleep. With my finger I trace his lip carefully, wanting to memorize its shape.

“That’s creepy.”

I jerk my finger away and look up at the big blue eyes, so blue they’re almost violet, somehow. The bolt through her nose glints, as does the sheen of her skull under the razor-short hair. Her name is Pace and she stalks this train night and day. She likes to swear and laugh in a hysterical, crazy way.

I think I like her.


Her eyebrows arch. “All you do is stare at him. Or touch him. Real slow like that. Does he know who you are? Or are you, like, his stalker?”

This makes me smile. “He’s mine.”

She blinks once, then pushes off the seat in front of me and strides away.

Next to jog down the aisle is Hal, the big, brutish-looking one with the white mohawk and tattoos over his arms. As he passes he winks at me and keeps going. It’s their exercise, apparently. And it makes me tired just watching them. I don’t want to think about why they need to be so fit or strong.

My eyes shift to the black of the tunnel outside. It’s disorienting being underground so long, moving so fast but unable to judge how far we’ve come. I have no idea where we’re headed because Pace won’t tell me. I don’t trust them, but I believe that all three know Luke well.

“He’s real calm and contained,” she told me last night when they carried him through the bush. “But, like, all trembly under the surface.”

“That’s his wild,” Hal had chipped in. “His animal.”

And then the little one, whose name is Will, added definitively, “He’s sweet like honey to catch the flies.”

Yep. They had Luke pegged.

Now, startling me, Will’s head pops down from above—outside the train. He grins, swinging down to pry open the window and clambering inside like a little monkey.

“What are you doing?” I exclaim as he shuts it again, blocking out the loud rush of sound. “That’s dangerous.”

Will laughs, his smile wide and full of white teeth. We look surreptitiously at each other, trying to figure each other out. He can’t be more than fourteen or fifteen; I think Pace is a little older.

“You’re tired,” he observes eventually.

“How far are we going?” Having had no luck with Pace, I quiz him instead.

“Pretty far.”

“What’s that in miles?”

“Dunno. Pretty far though.”

“And what’s at the end of pretty far?”

“The west.”

I already know this. It does nothing to help the nerves under my skin. “Do you have doctors there?”


“How does this train run?” Now that I have someone sitting still long enough to answer questions, I’m going to take advantage of it.

“Ask Hal. He’s the engineer.”

“Hal’s an engineer? He’s a child.”

“He’s nineteen.”

“And where did he get an engineering degree before nineteen?”

Will stares at me, his amusement patent. “You really are from the city, aren’t ya? Jeez.”

I don’t know what he means, so I shrug.

Will’s eyes drop to Luke and he shakes his head. “Can’t think of much that’d knock that one out. What happened to him?”

I look at Luke’s face. “I happened to him.”

Eventually I sleep. I’m too sore and woozy not to. My dreams are haunted. Blood and teeth and poles in spines. I wake with tears on my cheeks and, seeing Hal sitting opposite, I brush them quickly away.

“You’ll be okay in the west,” he says with complete confidence.

“What’s in the west?”

“We will be in about twenty minutes. I came to help you get your boy up.”

In the end it takes Hal, Pace and Will to lift Luke, big as he is. I’m useless, trembling with pain and fatigue, so I follow at a stumble. The train slows as if of its own accord, but doesn’t stop, so we have to sort of hop out onto a weird, crumbling set of stone steps as it speeds off. The steps take us up at an angle, through rock and earth, until we reach a wooden trapdoor and emerge into boiling hot sunlight.

My breath leaves me. It’s unbearably hot, and I start to sweat with a dizzying sensation along my spine. A hand takes my arm—I think it belongs to Pace—and steers me into what seems to be a large town square. Squinting against the brightness, my first understanding is of the bright yellow-orange dust under my feet. Next comes the brilliant, endless sky above. Not a speck of green anywhere, but I never expected green. Not in the west.

There’s an odd wash of salt in my nose, the kind of pungent scent you can’t ignore. I can’t for the life of me work out where it could be coming from.

Around us are low buildings full of open windows and doors, presumably to let the airflow help against the heat. And beyond the buildings, in every direction, is a mighty stone wall slicing right up into the sky, rimmed in rusting barbed wire. It makes the hairs on my arms stand on end, because my first thought is, of course, prison. I have been brought to a prison, and I’ll never be able to get Luke out. My next thought is not another one. In the city we were too used to walls. Too used to cages. I didn’t escape one just to wind up in a second.

“Where are we?” I rasp, but I don’t think anyone hears me.

Pace yanks me into a small brick building, then down a different set of steps. It is blessedly cool down here, and the relief, unfortunately, distracts me from what is actually happening. I just trot along, dazed and sore, until Pace shoves me into a square concrete room and then locks the door behind me.

I blink, staring at her face through the small glass window. “Get comfortable, Dual,” she tells me, her voice faint. Then her footsteps disappear back up the steps.

“Hey!” I shout. “What—?”

She’s left me here. What a bitch.

The room has a steel table that’s been screwed to the floor, and a single steel-framed chair. It’s clearly an interrogation room, or a prison cell.

Okay. Okay okay okay.

I mentally get my bearings. Possibly two days ago—it was very hard to keep track of time on the train—I escaped from the asylum on the hill with a recently drugged and unconscious Luke. I was picked up by three wild kids in the bush, who brought me on a train trip and then promptly locked me in this room. I don’t know where I am, or who lives in this place, or who the kids really are. They said they were resistance, but I have no way to trust that. And I have no idea where they’ve taken Luke.

That’s it. That’s all I have to work with.

My feet are still bleeding and my broken elbow is aching. Instead of slumping into the chair like I’d really love to, I squat to the ground and study the bolts securing the table. They look strong, but the legs were welded to the bases a long time ago, so I might be able to pressurize them at the right angle and get them to break. This seems unlikely, though—I don’t think I have ever been as undernourished or sickly as I am right now.

None of it turns out to be necessary as the door swings open and I stumble back. A man enters the room and shuts the door behind him. He is shorter than me, but very muscular through the chest and arms. He looks a bit like a bull terrier. Though his face is quite pretty, actually, beneath the boyish sandy hair.

“Hi,” he says.

My eyebrows arch. “Hey.”

“Sorry about this. Protocol.” He gestures to the seat. “We’d just like to ask you some questions, if that’s all right.”

“And if I say no?”

He smiles and I am abruptly met with the reality of this friendly-looking man: he’s dangerous. “Let’s start with your name.”

“How about we start with yours?”

Another smile. It’s a kind smile, but there’s an edge of something beneath it. “Sure. I’m Quinn.”

“And you’re the boss of the resistance?”

“Boss makes me sound like I’m a thousand years old.” A wide grin and a shrug. It’s the perfect gesture of self-deprecation—he’s good at this. At seeming non-threatening. He’s trying to make me comfortable.

“Sit down,” Quinn insists. “You look unwell.”

I sit.

“What’s your name?”

I didn’t tell the three kids my name; they never asked. Instead, Pace started calling me Dual because of my two-coloured eyes. Now it hits me like an electric shock—I don’t know why but I really, really don’t want this man to know who I am. The hairs on the back of my neck are literally standing on end because I can feel the danger in the room.

“Dual,” I tell him.

“Dual. Unusual. Do you have a last name?”

“Not one I can remember.”

He frowns a little, confused. “Really? Why’s that?”

“I’ve been in a mental health facility most of my life. Electroshock therapy and a nice cocktail of medication is a great way to strip you of anything and everything, including your name.”

“I’m sorry to hear it,” he tells me. “That’s where Luke found you?”

My mind starts working quickly. “The guy who saved me? Yep.”

Quinn watches me, studying my face. “You don’t know him, then?”


“You aren’t cured.”

“How perceptive you are.”

“Why is that?”

I’m sure he can guess why, but I tell him anyway. “They never bother curing some of the looniest in the loony bins. It’s funny, really, ’cause we might have been the ones most in need of fewer emotions.”



Grab the whole book here.


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Cover reveal: A City Called Smoke: The Territory 2 by Justin Woolley

Posted by Michelle Cameron

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The battle was only the beginning; the real danger is beyond the fence …

The Diggers have been destroyed, a horde of ghouls is moving inland and the High Priestess has seized control of the Central Territory. Together with Nim, a Nomad boy seeking vengeance against the ghouls, Squid and Lynn begin their long journey toward the city of Big Smoke, a city that may not even exist.

Pursued by forces that wish to see them fail, facing threats on all sides and conflict from within, Squid, Lynn and Nim search for a weapon against the ghouls. It is a search that will lead them into forbidden lands where long-held beliefs about their world are tested and Squid may finally unravel the truth of his identity.

But even if they survive their journey, the teenagers on whom the fate of the Territory now rests have no idea what dangers await them beyond the fence.

A City Called Smoke is released on the 9th of July. Pre-order now!

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Epic Rules for Epic Fantasy

Posted May 7, 2015 by Achala Upendran

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Egwene al'VereThere are many reasons why I love epic fantasy. First of all, there’s the larger than life aspect of it, of someone going out to save the world from a terrible threat. Second, you get to explore a whole new universe, one where, often, magic is a real thing and people are capable of working wonders. There are downsides of course, such as the prevalence of dark lords and monsters, but those seem negotiable when you have magic and sword fighting to hand.

But writing epic fantasy—that’s not an easy task. Not only do you have to bear the weight of giants who have gone before you (as in any other literary genre), but you have to create a world riveting and believable enough in itself that your readers want to spend time there. Better—they must want to stay there for the duration of three, five, seven, THIRTEEN books, however it long it takes for your heroes to get their game together and face down the imminent darkness.

I confess, I want to be an epic fantasy writer myself. To that end, I’ve put down a few rules that I’ve gathered from my experiences as a reader and editor thus far, and I try to abide by them as much as I can. Feel free to use them or abuse them, as you see fit!

1) Give your hero(ine) an uncomplicated name Katniss-Everdeen

This is very important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost patience with writers because their leading character’s name was long and trippy, sometimes consisting of three separate words. Some writers seem to think that spicing a name up with extra vowels (lots of ae’s and ei’s) will give their leading (wo)men a boost in the reader rating. When it looks pretentious, it’s going to put your readers off. Nothing does the job so well as simple names, like Harry, Rand, or Asvin from Samit Basu’s Gameworld Trilogy.

2) You don’t need a prologue

There are very few fantasy authors who do the prologue well, among them George R. R. Martin and Robert Jordan (he sort of lost the plot in the later books though—those prologues got way too long). The prologue essentially sets the scene for the action, but it’s not always necessary. Sometimes it works to hurl your readers headfirst into the world and let them find their bearings on their own. Also, this way it makes the central conflict more suspenseful—with no idea of what to expect, anything you conjure for them is sure to surprise your readers.

3) An entire race can’t be evil

This is very, very important to me. As someone from a non-Western, non-white country, I might be especially sensitive to sweeping portrayals of an entire people as stupid, or ignorant, or downright evil. Not only is this extremely hurtful to a community, but it’s Haradrimtotally unrealistic. There’s no way thousands and thousands (if not millions) of people can all be branded one particular thing, based purely on their skin colour or cultural affiliation. Thankfully, writers are making good progress on this front, and refraining from painting entire nations with one brush. However, this just makes those who fall back on such simplistic representation all the more open to criticism. For instance, I just finished Anthony Ryan’s ‘Tower Lord’, the second in his Raven’s Shadow series. The book was great, except for one glaring fact: one nation, or rather empire, was painted with just one terrible, sickening brush.

4) Where does the water come from?

And an added question, how do the people in your book function? What do they use to cook their food? Do they have pots and pans? what are they made of? Where do they sleep? What material are their houses built of? Is the environment they live in capable of sustaining these lifestyles? If they live in cities, do they have electricity, or something like it, or do they rely on oil lamps? What is the oil made of? It’s almost staggering, the things samthat you have to consider when you build your own world. You’ll start to think that people who write ‘realer’ fiction have it so much easier, at least they don’t have to wonder how their character goes to the bathroom at night.

5) It’s not Okay

This might just be me being nitpicky, but if you’re crafting an entirely new universe, with its own history and geography and social customs and religions (and magic! monsters! mayhem!) are you really, really going to make all of that come crashing down by having a character say ‘okay’? Words like ‘okay’ and other forms of slang evolve in a very particular context; they’re born from specific historical events and circumstances that, odds are, would not have happened in your magical world. Besides, if you’re going to create everything else, why chicken out and not make up your own slang? It’s arguably a lot easier than figuring out plumbing systems. Or maybe not.

In either case, why pass up the chance to make a world that’s completely yours?

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Cover Reveal: Equilibrium episode 5 and 6

Posted May 6, 2015 by Momentum

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The Ayons lose their king, making way for a deadly new leader.

King Samian is dead. In the aftermath of the fateful battle in the castle, Lord General Archis Varren launches a full-scale invasion of the south, determined to deal the Ronnesians a blow they will never forget.

Stationed at Kilsney, Captain Rasmus Auran is the first to witness the fury of the Ayon attack. Forced to retreat, and hounded by their northern enemy every step of the way, Ronnesian hearts begin to despair.

Yet Te’Roek provides only a temporary sanctuary, for Varren is determined to see it fall and will not stop until he rules the city from the castle itself.

Equilibrium-Episode-6-High-Res (2)

When all seems lost for Ronnesia, a small but fearless band of rebels arises.

The Ayons have been victorious. Queen Sorcha has fled Te’Roek, leaving the city under the occupation of the Ayons, led by the new consul Lord General Archis Varren.

But not all the citizens have bent the knee. A fragile resistance—led by Angora, Tiderius, and Rasmus—tirelessly tries to keep the citizens loyal to Queen Sorcha. However, even their combined power cannot stand up to the might of the new consul. Forced to look elsewhere for allies, their gaze falls upon infamous assassin Zoran Sable and his deadly arts. Even so, will it be enough to liberate the city?

At the end of an age, the ancient equilibrium threatens to fracture and break forever.

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Cover Reveal: Equilibrium episodes 3 and 4

Posted May 4, 2015 by Momentum

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The Ronnesians are forced to answer for their deception, which comes at a deadly price.

Lord General Archis Varren, intent on avenging the murder of his predecessor, has traced the assassination contract to the Ronnesian Mayor Challan, one of Queen Sorcha’s most valued supporters.

Meanwhile, Vrór viciously attacks the Ronnesian capital of Te’Roek, luring Angora back from her self-appointed mission in the north. The two Leikas finally come face to face and their ensuing battle takes them far from the city. But is this fight one Angora can possibly win?

In the aftermath of the attack, Varren hatches his plan to cripple Queen Sorcha’s power at its very source and the equilibrium begins to tip.


A mage and newly-made queen is killed, devastating both sides of the war.

Unable to persuade her former companions to give up their quest to reclaim her allegiance, Angora has been forced to turn against them and fight for her freedom. However, the fight has proven to be a costly one and Angora has fallen to her death in a deep ravine.

In the wake of her demise, both empires are momentarily subdued, mourning the loss of a friend and queen.

However, driven by the belief that Angora may have survived, the Ronnesians launch an attack on the Ayon capital of Delseroy in an attempt to free her from the Ayons’ clutches. But their attack does not go according to plan, setting in motion a series of events that could spell their doom.

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How to be a Hero by Duncan Lay

Posted April 20, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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What does being a hero really mean? With Anzac Day almost upon us, and football season in full swing, it’s a word that is being used all the time in media reports – aptly in the first case, pointlessly in the second. But who would want to be a hero? And would it be what you hoped, if you were one? It’s one of the many questions that I try to consider in The Last Quarrel.

Fallon is a man who longs to be a hero, to do something memorable. His wife, Bridgit, just wants the quiet life. The last thing she wants is to be a hero. But when a ghost ship sails into their quiet village and turns their lives upside down, when their worst nightmares come to life, how do they react? Who will be the real hero? Who will deal best with the responsibility thrust upon them? The one who dreamed of being heroic, who trained every day for that chance, or the one who wanted nothing to do with it? They approach the task from different directions. One is used to protecting the village, the other used to protecting their child. I wanted to explore their reactions, and see how they dealt with the most extreme circumstances, as their world crumbles around them and everything threatens to be destroyed by true darkness.

My guilty pleasure is the reality TV show Survivor. Even after all these years, each season beings its fascinating human drama, as people have to use their strength, their wits, their brains and their charm to win. Sometimes the most unlikely characters come through – and that’s what I love about it. The struggle to keep going, when you are tired, when you are hungry and when seemingly everyone is against you – I find it fascinating to see which ones crack and which ones rise to the challenge. Men and women often tend to approach this fight for survival in different ways, as well. This was another aspect I wanted to look at. And when I say that, I do mean the characters are the ones leading the way. I like to get them to the point where I know how they will react to any given situation. Then I turn them loose on the story and if they want to take in a slightly different direction, then I go with it. That is the fun of writing!

So who does deal best with adversity? Well, I’m afraid the question isn’t completely answered in book 1 of the trilogy – but you’ll certainly have a better idea after you finish The Last Quarrel!


The Last Quarrel: Complete Edition is released on the 23rd of April – pre-order now!

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Cover reveal: Equilibrium episode 1

Posted April 7, 2015 by Momentum

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The Spirits’ ancient equilibrium is brought into being when the twelfth mage is finally found. But Angora is unlike those who have come before her and she refuses to blindly accept her fate.

The Ayons have mysteriously retreated from a far-reaching southern offensive, ordered back by their newly crowned king.

In the aftermath of this battle, Angora is washed up on the shore of a foreign land, bruised and battered, determined to keep her past a secret from all. Rescued from slavers, yet immediately falling prey to others, she is thrust into a war not her own.

Proclaimed one of twelve legendary mages, Angora is charged with protecting the innocent with magic beyond her imagination.

But a dark future awaits her and her friends as the Ayon threat begins to swell once more in the north.

Equilibrium: Episode 1 goes on sale April 9th, followed by episode 2 on April 23rd!

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If Social Media Sites Were Objects from Harry Potter

Posted March 19, 2015 by Achala Upendran

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Harry-Potter-And-The-Deathly-Hallows-Part-2I absolutely adore the Harry Potter books (said a huge percentage of the world’s literate population), and relate nearly everything in my life to them, whether it be sorting my friends into Houses—I have a lot of friends in Slytherin, think what you will—finding parallels to my love life within its pages, and even throwing themed parties complete with self-brewed Butterbeer. It’s not strange, therefore, that I found a  way to work Harry Potter into the world of social media, seeing parallels between objects in that magical universe and some of the sites a huge number of us use, day after day after day.

Here I present to you my take on a bizarre scenario: If social media sites were objects from Harry Potter.

Facebook— Remember that handy little Resurrection Stone, that brings you face to face with those you had thought gone from your life forever? You can talk with them, for a Resurrection_Stonetime, as though they were really alive and there with you, but then you realize, slowly, that this interaction isn’t real, or any replacement for actually being with those you love. That’s sort of what Facebook is like, isn’t it? It lets you interact with who you want to interact with, gives one an illusion of being in touch, but then when push comes to shove, you realize it’s an approximation and nothing like actually picking up the phone and calling your friends or, better yet, meeting them in the flesh. Not that I love Facebook any less for all this, of course. There’s a reason the Resurrection Stone is a Hallow.

Instagram— Oh, this has to be a Pensieve. A place to store memories, to literally filter them and present them in any way you like (as Slughorn proved with his ‘modified’ and heavily edited memory). It’s also easy to imagine spending hours looking through someone else’s Pensieve, living vicariously and scrolling endlessly through those selected moments of their lives. I’d say Instagram really is a heavily curated Pensieve on public display.


Pinterest—I said this before to my friends: Pinterest is the Mirror of Erised of social media because it taunts you with images of things you do not have or need, but inexplicably crave the moment you see them. Check out this delicious recipe I just pinned—now you’re just dying to try it. What about that gorgeous scarf from the absurdly overpriced boutique in ErisedBrooklyn? You can’t rest until it, or something like it, is yours. And much like a Pensieve, you could spend hours and hours wasting away in front of it, endlessly pinning things and finally prompt a Dumbledore like figure to come up to you and say ‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.’  Yes, ‘live’ and make some money—then maybe that scarf will be yours.

Twitter—Okay this was a bit of a hard one. At first I thought of Rita Skeeter’s Quick Quotes Quill, that takes a little bit of what you say and spins its own story around it (context takes heavy hits when all you have is 140 characters to express yourself in). Then I thought of a Howler, the one-sided yelling matches that signals deep embarrassment and a ruined breakfast for any Hogwarts student. Twitter can be a minefield, an easy-offence site where people can show off their opinions with little repercussion (you don’t HAVE to respond to a tweet after all). And you can make clear your displeasure with so many things in the world.


Buzzfeed—Yes, I know this isn’t really a ‘social media’ site, but I couldn’t resist. What comes to mind when I think of Buzzfeed? The Quibbler. When it began, did anyone really think it would become the juggernaut it has? Did anyone think that from quizzes and listicles, it would go on to influence the way webzines and e-papers pLuna-moving-her-Spectrespecsresent content? Nope, not me for sure. Sort of like how at first the Quibbler was a joke to everyone, and then, after Harry’s interview with them in The Order of the Phoenix, became the one place for ‘serious journalism’. Subscription soared after that, even Luna said so! From being a niche magazine with a few quizzes and quirky pieces, the Quibbler became contraband and therefore, legit reading material.

Tumblr—The thing about Tumblr is, like a Howler, it’s a sort of one-sided conversation. People can only share what you’ve put out there, not comment on it directly. But it is a great place to put your thoughts on various things. Could I call it the Room of Requirement, that’s different and caters to the needs of each person? Someone else who walks in can’t really affect it, they can merely observe and (if they’re lucky) figure out the use to which its being put, but nothing they do can change the use to which the current holder has put the Room. You know, sort of the way the Room shuts Harry and Trelawney out when Malfoy was working inside and needed his privacy—and even when Trelawney made her way inside, she was summarily hurled out, unable to comment on or change Malfoy’s ‘content’.

It can be anything you want it to be.

It can be anything you want it to be.

Can you think of any more? Let me know in the comments below!

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2014 Aurealis Award Finalists

Posted March 2, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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The finalists for the 2014 Aurealis awards have been announced – and we are super excitedto count FOUR Momentum authors amongst them! So before the winners are revealed – we thought we’d tell you a little more about the great reads that are in the running.


Greig Beck – Book of the Dead

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When a massive sinkhole opens up and swallows a retired couple from Iowa it seems like a freak occurrence. But it’s not the only one. Similar sinkholes are opening all over the world, even on the sea floor. And they’re getting bigger.

People living near the pits are reporting strange phenomena vibrations, sulfurous odors, and odd sounds in the stygian depths. Then the pets begin to go missing.

When people start disappearing as well, the government is forced to act. Professor Matt Kearns and a team of experts are sent in by the military to explore one of the sinkholes, and they discover far more than they bargained for.

From the war zones of the Syrian Desert to the fabled Library of Alexandria, and then to Hades itself, join Professor Matt Kearns as he attempts to unravel an age-old prophecy. The answers Matt seeks are hidden in the fabled Al Azif known as the Book of the Dead and he must find it, even if it kills him. Because time is running out … not just for Matt Kearns, but for all life on Earth.



Amanda Bridgeman – Aurora: Meridian


Their hardest battle will be fighting the enemy within …

Captain Saul Harris has found himself at a crossroads. Haunted by dreams of the dead, he fights to keep his soldiers safe as events spiral out of his control. But has his search for the truth led him to discover there is more to this mission of chasing Sharley than meets the eye?

Meanwhile, Corporal Carrie Welles seeks revenge. Consumed with demons from her past two missions, she goes rogue in the hope that her actions will end all the pain and suffering the Aurora team has endured. But will facing the enemy free them all from Sharley’s cruel grasp, or has she condemned herself to a suicide mission?

As the mystery of Sharley and UNFASP unfolds and lives hang in the balance, Harris and Carrie are forced to search deep inside themselves, and what they find will shock them.

Nina D’Aleo – The White List

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Chapter 11 is watching you.

Silver is an intelligence operative working for an agency that doesn’t officially exist beyond any government and above the law. Chapter 11 is the kind of place a person can join but never leave. And it keeps a third of the world’s population under constant surveillance. At work. On the street. In their homes.

Why? Because of Shaman syndrome.

One in three people are born with Shaman syndrome, which endows them with abilities they cannot control and do not even know they have. It is Chapter 11′s responsibility to cap and surveil these walts as they are known to ensure their talents don’t turn ugly for the ordinary people around them.

After Silver’s partner, Dark, is seriously injured by a walt, Silver is driven to investigate. What starts as a routine investigation isn’t as clear-cut as it seems, especially when she discovers there’s a price on her head.

Chapter 11 might be watching the world, but it can’t see the division in its own ranks. Someone wants the white list the list of every known walt that Chapter 11 has capped but for what purpose? Silver needs to find out the secret behind Shaman syndrome, before it’s too late.

Graham Storrs  – Foresight: Book 3 in the Timesplash series


Jay and Sandra are back fighting to save a world on the edge of destruction.

In the middle of a bizarre global catastrophe that looks suspiciously like the mother of all timesplashes, Sandra Malone discovers that the corporation she works for is spying on her. To find out why, she sets off to track down the culprits. What she discovers catapults Sandra, her daughter, and everyone around her into a deadly struggle to prevent a disaster.

Now working in European Military Intelligence in Berlin, Jay Kennedy begins to suspect that the shock that hit the world was something more sinister and dangerous than even a timesplash. In the midst of the chaos that has engulfed the world, Jay learns that Sandra is in danger and that their daughter has gone after her. This turn of events threatens to distract him from solving a puzzle on which the fate of the whole world might hang.

With time running out, Jay is torn between the possibility of losing Sandra, and the desperate need to stop a new kind of time-travel technology that could destroy the planet.


Read the full list of finalists HERE. Winners will be announced on the 11th of April.

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Gaelland – The World of The Last Quarrel, by Duncan Lay

Posted February 26, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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The Irish being raided by pirates from the Ottoman Empire? It certainly sounds like fantasy but, while the lands of The Last Quarrel are indeed inspired by Ireland (Gaelland) and the Ottoman Empire (Kotterman Empire), there is also more truth in this relationship than you might think. One of the inspirations for the story was the real-life Sack Of Baltimore, where a small Irish fishing village was completely taken into slavery by raiders from North Africa. And yes, the Ottoman Empire never stretched that far but there is every chance some of the many “white slaves” taken from the UK and Ireland and Europe ended up there.

But how close are the two mythical countries to their real-life inspirations?

Well, not so much. Yes, they have a flavour of them and the character names and places are either directly taken or inspired by real names and places. The biggest difference is, of course, the magic.

Ireland has quite the tradition of magical creatures and legends but the magic in Gaelland takes that a step further. The land essentially has two different type of magic. The first is natural magic, which a few talented people can draw from the air around them and use to change the world. Its powers are limited to what occurs naturally and merely mimics actions that can be found in nature. Using this magic is through cause and effect – the magician needs to use their own energy to replace what they take. Then there is blood magic, which is granted only in exchange for human sacrifice. The only cost there is your soul – and, of course, the innocent you slaughter to gain power.

Natural magic is celebrated and those lucky enough to be able to wield it can command huge sums of money for their skills. Because of its power, it is heavily regulated, with its own Guild. This Guild also sets the fees and makes sure nobody is tempted to use their magic for the common good. It is the King and the nobles who have most command of the magicians, using them to display their wealth and power. Natural magic is respected, although regarded a little suspiciously by many people. Only the rich can have it used on their behalf, so it is rare indeed that ordinary people can feel its effects. It has also given rise to many strange tales, including the stories of selkies, mythical beasts that look like seals but can apparently take the form of men at will. And, if angered, they will take lives as well.

Blood magic, on the other hand, is truly feared. It is blamed on witches, with more power gained through the sacrifice of the young and innocent – preferably children. Tradition and superstition claims that witches cannot abide the touch of metal, so it is thought any type of iron can avert their evil.

Some of that is true … These two magic forms come to blows in The Last Quarrel, as Fallon, his wife Bridgit and Prince Cavan desperately try to unravel the mystery of what is happening to Gaelland. Magic will both help and hinder their search …


The first three episodes of The Last Quarrel are on sale now!

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Cover reveal(s) – The Last Quarrel by Duncan Lay

Posted February 3, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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Gaelland is a nation gripped by fear.

In the country, fishing boats return with their crews mysteriously vanished, while farms are left empty, their owners gone into the night, meals still on the table. In the cities, children disappear from the streets or even out of their own beds. The King tells his people that it is the work of selkies – mythical creatures who can turn from seals into men and back again – and witches. But no matter how many women he burns at the stake, the children are still being taken. Fallon is a man who has always dreamed of being a hero. His wife Bridgit just wants to live in peace and quiet, and to escape the tragedies that have filled her life. His greatest wish and her worst nightmare are about to collide. When an empty ship sails into their village, he begins to follow the trail towards the truth behind the evil stalking their land. But it is a journey that will take them both into a dark, dark place and nobody can tell them where it might end …

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The Last Quarrel Episode One is now for sale. All other episodes are available for pre-order.


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The Science of Magic

Posted January 30, 2015 by Achala Upendran

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For someone who knows nothing about this kind of stuff, technology seems a lot like magic. I still can’t wrap my head around how dialling a number on a phone lets you connect to someone half a world away, and despite the efforts of a friend to explain it, the mechanics remain shrouded in a half mystical veil. I’ve started trying to figure out how websites work and are hosted (as an internet junkie, I feel I owe it to myself), but becoming an expert is going to be an incredibly long journey. 

The fact that I just referred to it as ‘stuff’ should be some indication of just how ill-informed I am.

This is me, whenever someone tries to talk tech.

This is me, whenever someone tries to talk tech.

The point of this curious monologue/confession is: technology presents, like magic, a curious paradox. It works because of set rules: laws laid down by nature (or, if you subscribe to the theory, a Higher Power) which a man-made device manipulates or utilises in order to achieve certain results. If you break any of these devices down to figure out how exactly they operate, the rules will remain constant, as do the results of their operations. A computer cannot randomly begin to talk to you unless it is programmed to, and even that programming has certain limitations, though those limits seem to expand with every passing day, if not hour.

Now, magic, which should technically (pun not intended) be seen as the very opposite of science, has evolved in fantasy books to become one. The better crafted an author’s world, the more rigid her system of ‘magic’, or whatever constitutes the unknowable, immaterial power that various characters might use. For instance, Jonathan Stroud’s ‘magic’, worked by the ruling class in his slightly altered England, is dependent on the services of djinn, afrits, and other denizens of the ‘Other Place’. There are rules for summoning these powers, and limitations on what they themselves can do. And they are definitely not possessed of unending reserves of energy—as Nathaniel, the protagonist of the series, learns the hard way.

A really good fantasy writer creates a system governed by rules—what those rules are is completely up to the author, but once set in place, they do not bend or break. In a strange way, the thing that is supposedly most uncontainable, most difficult to explain, is the one that should, ideally, be best governed and codified, at least in its creator’s mind. Magic that works whenever it wishes to doesn’t help anyone—either the characters using it, or the readers trying to understand and learn to live in your world. For instance, a huge reason why many people (me included) had a problem with the  conclusion of the Harry Potter series was that it appeared to hinge on an important magical fact that had not been included, or even hinted at, in the six books leading up to Deathly Hallows. It just seemed like Rowling, usually such a careful writer, had pulled a rabbit out of her hat, and the surprise was not entirely a good one. It seemed convenient, rather than well thought out.


Not how I expected this to go down.

One writer who really, really creates and plays by his own rules to superb effect is Patrick Rothfuss. His Kingkiller Chronicles are amazing for many reasons, but his ‘magic’ system is surely one of them. Kvothe, the protagonist, struggles to learn the different skills that would make him an adept, and like any student, he makes mistakes and overstretches himself, brings too much confidence to the table when he should have brought humility instead. He is brilliant, yes, but he also learns that there are things he cannot do, except, sometimes, as a sheer fluke. The road to naming and using those names (the way ‘magic’ works in this universe) is a long one, and even after two books, Kvothe still struggles at University to figure out how it all works.


The key to keeping your codified magic as mysterious and mystical as technology is (to the ignorant ones) is to restrict complete knowledge of it to a few characters, none of whom spend too much time talking about the theory behind all of it. For instance, in Harry Potter, we don’t spend any time in Dumbledore, or Snape or McGonagall’s head—and these are characters who are masters of their particular subjects and hence know a lot of the theory behind how various spells and potions work. Rowling gives us just enough hints through books and students—I’m thinking specifically of Hermione Granger here, who provides us, at various points in the books, the logic behind magical occurrences—to tell us that there is a larger system in place, that magic is a science that requires specific factors to produce an intended result. To be fair, there’s no ‘foolish wand waving’ in most of the magical arts, whatever Snape may sneer.


To sum up: a fantasy writer is many things. A linguist, a sociologist, a historian, a technician, a zoologist (or a demonologist) and, above all, a scientist. She builds her world from the ground up, and sets its rules in order, and then has to subscribe to her own absolute power by playing according to those rules. It doesn’t matter how intricate or beautiful your system is if you don’t allow yourself to work with it, or bend it in ways that are probable. ‘Magic’ can become all too easily a convenient tool that is used when nothing else seems workable, but the best authors don’t allow that to happen. 

And just because you play by the rules doesn’t decrease your wow factor. After all, I still think the internet, and all that it makes possible, are pretty amazing, magical things. 

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Checking Wardrobes for Narnia: Why Fantasy Should be Ordinary

Posted January 23, 2015 by Eve Merrier

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This week I read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s very special. One of its best qualities is the blend of ordinariness with the fantastical. This is epitomised by the eponymous ocean, which looks like a duck pond. It struck me that all the best means of travel through space, time, and various other dimensions, are ordinary. Or at least they look it. That’s the joy of it: bringing the magic into the real world, making it feel like you just have to find the right wardrobe…the_ocean_at_the_end_of_the_lane

Narnia is a good place to start. The wardrobe is, of course, the most iconic means of reaching Aslan’s realm, but you can also get there via train platforms, with magical rings given to you by a sinister uncle, or through a picture in your aunt and uncle’s spare bedroom.wardrobe

Fireplaces work well too. Not to take you to a different world, but to travel around Harry Potter’s version of our own. The traveller also needs to be in possession of Floo powder and to speak the name of the place they want to go to. Apparently, it’s also important to keep your elbows in. I think I might start telling children that Santa Claus is Dumbledore’s brother, travelling by Floo.harry

The TARDIS may be iconic these days, but the UK used to be covered in police boxes, so it was a subtle way to travel. The interiors of the boxes used to be used as mini police stations, so you could, quite easily, plop it down anywhere and step out without anyone batting an eyelid.police_box_inline1

Powered by the fire, the innocuous wooden door of Howl’s Moving Castle has a dial to turn, depending on where you’d like to step out. This works no matter where the castle is. The flower meadow, which Howl is showing Sophie for the first time below, is my happy place.meadow

In Yonderland, the funniest TV series in existence, the pantry functions as a portal. Debbie is a suburban English mum, and a bit bored, until and elf appears from her cupboard, insisting that she is The Chosen One and must save Yonderland. Though they’ve lost the scroll that says how she’s supposed to do it. Each episode, they venture through her pantry to a magical realm, ensuring she’s home in time to pick up the kids. Watch a clip.

Fiction is also full of swirling wormholes, rips in time and high tech teleporters. They’re cool too. But I think there’s something truly excellent in using the ordinary as the basis for the extraordinary. The more closely it resembles our world, the easier it is to believe in magic.


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Review a book – live FOREVER!

Posted January 21, 2015 by Michelle Cameron

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Do you get a thrill when you see a character with the same name as you? And then dream that you are them and make everyone refer to you only by their rank/kitsch nickname? And only really find people of the opposite sex attractive if they share the name of your fictional counterparts SO? …no? huh.

Well, in any case, it would be super awesome if a character was actually named after you, right? Right. Lucky for you then, that our author Duncan Lay is currently holding a review competition where the prize is exactly this! Details below.


The Last Quarrrel Episode 1 is out on January 22, with each of the four subsequent episodes released a fortnight after the first. And Duncan has almost finished the first draft of book two of the series, The Bloody Quarrel. There are five characters who are currently nameless in this book.

Now, he could go online and grab some random names for them – or you could have your name given to one of them. All you have to do is review one or more episodes of The Last Quarrel on one of the many sites available – or review it on all of them!

Send Duncan the link, either through his website or via the email address on his blog and let us know which of the following characters you might be interested in having named after yourself.

NOTE: We’re not looking for the most suck-worthy review but instead the more intelligent ones. So, if you like the idea of playing a pivotal part in the next book in the series, get reading, get reviewing and let Duncan know!

Characters in need of an awesome name:

1) Secret agent of the crown (female/male)
2) A Boluk-bashi (captain) of the Kotterman army (male)
3) A Courbaci (Colonel) of the Kottermna army (male)
4) A harbour lookout (male/female)
5) An angry mother (female)

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