Tag Archives: Mundus

Getting Ready for the Weekend and Remembering faces


So this weekend is Kingsmead Book Fair, and I am pretty excited to be part of this, on a panel with Joanne Macgregor, Edyth Bulbring, and chaired by Bontle Senne.


We’re on at 13:45 in the Gym:

GymYoung Adult novelists Edyth Bulbring(Snitch)Cat Hellisen(Beastkeeper) and Joanne Macgregor(Scarred) discuss the themes of bullying and bloodlines, beauties and beasts and the transformative power of first love. Chaired by fellow youth writer Bontle Senne.

There will be an SASL interpreter at this session.

Now, fun stuff aside, I’m going to offer an apology in advance, and a small explanation.

Firstly, if you see me and want to say hi, PLEASE DO!


Secondly, even if we have met several times before, it’s probable I won’t recognise you. This is not because of you, it’s because of me. I have great difficulty remembering names and faces. I try very hard to build up a mental index card that matches people up, but if you do something like comb your hair differently, wear (or not wear) glasses, change your clothes, meet me in a different place, my index cards get scrambled and I need to re-sort them. This can take a while, and it’s very embarrassing for me because I hate making people feel like I don’t care who they are. I really do care, I just have an actual problem. The problem is made worse when I am anxious or stressed, and public situations make me both.


So, if it appears I have no idea who you are, just be gentle and say your name and remind me when we last saw each other and I can reshuffle my index.  😀


I other news, I’ve put CHARM up on Smashwords with a new cover, and added my Mundus short story Oma Zoli’s Mirror.

charm(1)Irene Kerry has grown up with the memory of her mother’s suicide, and has been in love with her best friend Rain for as long as she can remember. She thinks she’s dealing with both just fine until the day her best friend falls in love with a much older man. A man who knew her mother, and believes Irene is a magician like her. In order to protect her friend and family, Irene gets dragged into a hunt for an ancient magician who steals and eats magic, and discovers that the things she thought she knew about her mother’s death were all lies.





OMA ZOLI'S MIRRORDylan McKenzie is a collector of magical artifacts from this world and others, but when a voice underground tells him to look for his heart’s desire, he is pulled into the web of a fallen goddess, sent to murder her sister and bring back her soul.

Oma Zoli’s Mirror shows your heart’s desire. Or her heart. Or her desire. She spins webs to get what she wants, but will the man she’s trapped do as she commands?

New Short Stories!

With Charm having finally run its course, I am going to concentrate on short stories for a while.

As a kick off, I am posting Oma Zoli’s Mirror on Patreon today. It’s a glimpse into the world of Mundus – magic and nightmare and madness –  where angels and murderers wear the same faces.

If you’d like to read – click on the picture.

And if you’re moved to become a patron, remember you can support my work as a writer and artist from as little as $1 a month. I’ll be updating with short stories monthly or weekly depending on length, and looking into some more serialised novels.


Enjoy the read.


ETA: My friend Horace Hamster pointed out that not all people like to use Patreon or Facebook and I should set up a blogpost-only tipjar system for those who want to give but not via the other channels. This will take you directly to paypal. Thanks, Fran for the suggestion!

Donation fields under the cut

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A Sale! A Sale!

The Boy and I have been ridiculously busy pulling up carpets and scraping away glue and sanding and varnishing and painting. We’ve never done any DIY in our lives before so this is a whole new experience. Considering what a bunch of noobs we are, I’d say the place is looking pretty good.


All that, along with turning in my Beastkeeper edits, all our weird hobbies and things like walking the hounds for miles along the coast, has left me little time to think or talk about writing. I still write, but mostly in some kind of daze.


(I love the eerie melancholy of the beach in autumn. Also, we saw the beach sledding dog team again. So weird.)


I do have some rather wonderful news: I can finally announce that I sold my story The Girls Who Go Below to F&SF, so I am pretty damn excited about that. You could probably hear me squee all the way in the northern hemisphere when I got the email. :D. I’ve slacked on my monthly short fiction though. This weekend I finally started what was probably March’s short, hahaha. It’s odd, and it connects to another (unsold) short story, and peripherally to another unfinished novel.

It’s while I was opening up that novel (which I’d given up on about 2 years ago because I couldn’t imagine my agent being able to do anything with it), that I realised I really really liked what I had written, and when I am done with these rewrites for N&V, I am going to tackle it again.


 He’d had to go back for the rest of his stuff, but of the human Jacques there’d been no sign. The Caterpillar was up on the ceiling though, slowly working at a cocoon in the far right corner. It had said nothing to him while he’d packed his bag, and nothing to him when he left.

Amanda had been out. Daniel had left her a note, and snapped it under a penguin refrigerator magnet. The fridge door was full of them. He didn’t remember her collecting penguin-themed anything before. The note said simply. I have my stuff. O. There hadn’t been much else to say.

There’d been a new painting in the living room, the easel positioned off to one corner, opposite to the Caterpillar. Another one of Amanda’s fish things, the bones splayed out around the canvas, rusted hooks embedded in paint and material. It stank. The fish hooks had spelled out fuck you. As with all things Amanda, the message could have been for anyone.

But now, here in this cluttered, but ultimately barren room, Daniel could put away Amanda and her repulsive new lover and the fish hooks that she’d pulled out of his heart.

Instead he listened to the silence, the rustle under the bed. A silent rustle, too small to be real. After a while, Daniel bent over to peer underneath. His hair fell down, kissing the industrial beige carpet, like a dry brush loaded with watercolour. There was nothing under the bed. When he drew up again, Daniel saw his hair had inked feathery brown letters on the wool. This is Judith’s tenuous grip on reality.

Shit, he thought.

I solemnly swear that I am going to finish this book and find out what happens. SWEAR IT. PROMISES.







Pick a card any card

I’m planning on finishing the first draft of New Hob Book in the new year, and then I can go back to one of the languishing WiPs

The one closest to being finished is  N&V, which just needs to be rewritten back into third and I need to put back all the extra PoVs and change the big bad and wait did I say closest to finished? Argh. Me. This book. Our eternal struggle to make it work.

Mundus, The Dog God Book, and Paper Teeth need variously, middles and endings and a decision about which one my agent might be interested in. I think I’m most in the mood to finish Mundus.


Mainly because of Zaile.

Their first stop was a small tea shop in the middle of a garden park. Although garden park was really an inadequate description, Daniel mused as he leaned back on the white wire chair. The little round tables and matching curlicued chairs were all Victorian Conservatory, but the garden was sultry, steaming. Bamboo competed with vine-dripping trees – none of which Daniel recognised – and troupes of little grey-green monkeys bounded though the tops, making the branches shake and rain down fruits and flowers and dying leaves.

The waiter was a simian girl who spent most of her time walking about on her hands or jumping from table to table. She was fast, Daniel had to give her that. Almost as soon as they’d taken a seat, she’d delivered two ice cold glasses of water, complete with slices of lime. She wore no clothes , but her fur was long and pale beige and more or less modest. Unless you stared. Which Daniel was doing now. Her nipples were cherry pink nubs that poked through the soft long fur on her chest and belly. She had a double row of them, six altogether.

“Acrobat clan,” Zaile said. “Performers, normally. Some of them tend to get bored of circus life and run off to be accountants.”

“And waiters,” said Daniel. He downed the water and wiped his forehead. His skin was pulsing with exertion and the heat.

“And yes, waiters.” Zaile bent over the menu, studying it. After a while he called the simian girl back over. “Earthie,” he said, pointing at Daniel. “First day.”

“Oh,” the girl snapped the menu out of Zaile’s hand. “Should have seen that. I’m slow today. I thought you’d stopped bringing them here.”

“It’s not one of mine.”

“Hmph.” The girl tucked the menus under one arm. “It’s still here though. I can do you . . fruit. And more fruit.”

Zaile looked over at Daniel. “That work for you?”

“Um.” Daniel fidgeted. “You do realise I don’t have any money, right?”

The simian girl and Zaile both started laughing. “You’ll pay in talents,” Zaile said. “Whatever you’re good at, or whatever you deem worthy about yourself. You share the happiness, basically.”

“What?” Daniel tried to wrap his mind around the concept. It sounded like something a bunch of stoned hippies had come up with after a night of acid and spliff. It had probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

“Or he could pay for you,” the girl said, and eyed Zaile. “I’m down with that.”

Zaile leaned his chin on the palm of one hand and snorted. “I’ll bet you are. But you’re bound to be disappointed.”

“Why’s that?” the girl said, her tail curling about her in a display that was alarmingly coquettish.

“I’ve swapped sex for poetry.”

“Oh. Crap.” The girl stopped waving her tail. “Fruit. On the house.”

“Really?” Zaile raised an eyebrow. “I could do you a sonnet. I am dead good with rhyming couplets.”

“Gah.” The girl pulled a sour face. “I am so disappointed, I can’t even begin to explain the enormity of my despair.”

“Well, don’t say I didn’t offer,” Zaile called out as the girl hopped off to a small glass-walled octagonal building where, presumably, the food was made.

“You sell yourself for food?” Daniel said, after a few minutes had passed.

“Crass. No. Only a fucking earthie would see it like that.” Zaile seemed more amused than annoyed. “Besides, I have other talents. I paid for an entire wardrobe designed by the Great Salamander with an epic prose poem.”

“Right.” Daniel folded his hands on his lap and stared at them. “And what if you’re not a poet or a prostitute?”

“Oh, fuck off,” Zaile said, drawling each word long and slow. “Hezekiah must have loved you, you repressed little shit. Did you let him fuck you? Because that’s his game – look for the most emotionally wrecked excuse for humanity he can find, and proceed to mess with them even more. He loves it when you earthies hate yourselves.”


oh yeah, Mundus, I choose you.


I have been doing things

Mostly working on Mundus, which is my project for me.


And I haven’t done this in forever, so have an excerpt, first draft and all that means:


“I didn’t think you’d be here,” Tanja continued. She was accusatory, and somewhere in the fog of his memories Oliver tried to work out if he deserved it. Was it his fault this time?

He was pretty sure it wasn’t. He set down his almost empty glass, and balanced the crostini on the rim. It took an extraordinarily long time, and seemed particularly important. He thought it should be. Food and glass and stains of red. While he was doing this, Oliver found the words floating up out of his chest. He listened to himself. “She doesn’t own the city,” he said. Which was particularly stupid because it didn’t matter if she did or she didn’t. He still should have known better than to come here, to a place full of her friends.

With a dull surprise he realised that they’d all been her friends, really.

There was nowhere in the city to run to that she hadn’t infected. No place where people wouldn’t look at him with pitied revulsion. It made everything harder than it had to be. Oliver went to get another glass of wine to wash the thought away, obliterate it, drown it black. He needed a place to go where he could be clean of all this, but all he had were art galleries and clubs and alcohol and the night. The wine was helping, it was making him feel less frayed, sticking him into place and time like a housefly on a strip of dirty flypaper. He was spinning. Tomorrow. Tomorrow would be better, he’d be braver and sober and he could think and he could find a bolt-hole and lick his wounds salty-clean.

“God,” said Tanja, and she took him by his arm. Her eager drunken grip was something he found himself relaxing into. Hard people, people who took control and told him what to do, they made Oliver feel safe. A peculiar safety, yes. Like a rabbit in a hutch, safe from dogs and wolves, but not so much from the dinner table. That’s why things hadn’t worked out with him and Amanda. Two rabbits in an open cage. You can’t do that to people and expect them to make a good go of it. Someone always had to be the hunter.

“You’re a mess.” Tanja pulled him to one of the shadowed corners. There was a couch here. It was rubbery and filled with people he didn’t recognise. They glanced up once, a many eyed beast, then their heads all turned back to conversation, speaking each other’s lines. Above them hung a row of paintings. They were a series of seductions, angular and unsurprising. An occasional soft curve made them feel less empty and rote.

I’m in hell.

“Hey,” Tanja said, and snapped her finger right under his nose with a little firecracker pop that brought him back to a foggy sort of reality. The room smelled of old damp stone and piss and wine and desperate air freshener. “Are you okay?”

Focus. Too many glasses of wine and not enough shitty cheese crostini. Oliver smiled to himself. If he were peeled open now perhaps his liver would be labelled. This is Oliver’s bloated self-pity. “I’m fine.”