Talking About a Clementine Ford Article

Yesterday I was browsing Twitter, ignoring the mountain of work that I have to do. Twitter is an awful place. It really is – I find it’s like watching a disaster unfolding around me, and I cannot look away. I am utterly fascinated by the hatred I sense towards people like myself. People who have *gasp* different opinions. And yes, it is hatred. I have had to work hard on not feeling like I am a worthless, disgusting, awful person due to the things I read, hear and come by due to Twitter. It is like being slammed by a constant barrage of people screaming how much they hate your existence without even realising they’re doing it.
I came across a Tweet promoting an article written by Clementine Ford – “The men’s march organised by a woman” Now, I am terrified of Clementine Ford. She scares me, so much. Yeah, I’ll admit it – I am down right scared and intimidated by her. The values I uphold as an individual, she rips apart. (I’m sure she’s a really nice person IRL.)

Don’t get me wrong, she has VALID points to make – always. I am not here to argue over that. I was raised to not walk outside at particular times at night, I was raised to carry my key’s in my hand when I did. I never questioned why. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. I just presumed everyone protected themselves. At my one and only self-defence course my male teacher took me aside and told me “Kylie, the first thing I am going to teach you is the first thing I teach every woman. How get out of a guy’s grip.” 
I never forgot what he taught me. He drilled it into me. Time, and time again, he made sure I knew it.

Okay. So. I’m going to all tell you the story of how I was almost kidnapped by a sex offender when I was fourteen. I have never shared this story, because, well, I don’t really have anything to back it up – but it’s life:

This was back in the day of MSN, Elfwood and dial up internet, before I was aware that there was strangers lurking on the web who meant harm. I was a very innocent, naive little girl. I was, frankly, stupid. I started talking with a guy online, had no idea who he was, but gradually, as time went on, he shared some photos and kept asking to meet. I was like, yeah, nah, I can’t, I don’t have that sort of freedom. Which I didn’t.
I was a very, very lonely, depressed girl – but I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone.
With my refusal to meet up, I thought, well, that was the end of that odd friendship.
Hm. No. It wasn’t.
I had a routine back then – due to everything that had happened to me at face-to-face school, I had started doing home-schooling, and I took walks to the local shops, pretty much everyday. I knew my area VERY well and if there was one thing I did pride myself on it was being very hyper-aware of my surrounds. I might have even stupid online, but I was hyper-aware in-real-life. Which is why, on one particular day as I was walking home from the shops, with the rain beginning to pick up, I sensed a large four-wheel-drive pull up.
A man wound down the passenger window, urging me to pause. “Hey, you live on ***** don’t you? How about you jump in and I’ll take you home, it’s raining.”
I froze. Dead on the spot. That wasn’t my street. That was a fake street I gave out to people who I didn’t trust (oh, did I forget to mention I did that? Yeah…)
This man looked like an ordinary man, in an ordinary car, but his fingers keep twitching on the wheel. I really didn’t like his hands. I had never seen him in the area before. I had never seen the car in the area, and I prided myself in knowing faces and cars from all my walks. I smiled. “No thanks. I like walking.”
With that, I turned away and continued walking.
Now, I bet you’re asking yourself “KYLIE, DID YOU GO TO THE POLICE?!”
No. Actually. I didn’t even tell my parents. I was fourteen…I just, sorta shrugged it off and never really thought about it again until I was in my early twenties and it hit me what could have happened that day.
There was another occasion in the city, after a friends birthday party. I was dressed up to the nine – in an outfit I would NEVER fit into anymore. I looked gorgeous. I wish I could tell twenty-one year old me she was beautiful…
Anyway…
I was standing on the curb waiting for my parents to pick me up, my friend had gone off to continue the night clubbing and I didn’t drink or club so, it was an early night for me.
A group of drunk men walked past. Stopped. And walked back. I could tell they had every intent of making a total scene and I – being the most inexperienced and sheltered person on the face of the planet – had no idea what to do. I kid you not, two police men took that moment to walk right across the road and plant themselves on either side of me like guards. They did not say anything to me, they just stood there. The drunk men walked away grumbling.
Those police men stayed with me until my parents came.
Heroes. They were my heroes.
The point I am trying to make is that if you dig deep enough, women have stories – women have lived life. So, I do understand where Clementine Ford comes from, I just do not understand her hatred and her viciousness. It is perhaps that misunderstanding that makes me fear her. I doubt she would be welcoming to my position either, after reading the above article and seeing how hostile she is with women who don’t toe-the-line. I mean, obviously I am not a Trump-Loving-Aussie (that’s a bit weird if you ask me) but I do wish we allowed for a little bit more leg-room and less mob-pitch-fork destroying in society.

My grandmother has been staying with me for several weeks while having radiotherapy for breast cancer. During this time, we’ve had many discussions about what life was like back in her day. When I was a little girl, one my earliest memories of my Grandmother was of her reading me feminist literature. I basically learnt about feminism and the Suffragette Movement from my Grandmother.  Frankly, women today have little concept (I feel) of what living under a patriarchy means. The stories my grandmother has to tell from just her lifetime is chilling, and that’s not even mentioning the stories of my great-grandmother. We have come so far in just several generations, these are things to be celebrated and yet, all I see is a continuous tearing down. However, perhaps this is just because I have always been overly sensitive – I don’t like to see people hurting.
I was once told that I saw things in black and white because I only saw the pain people were in and I wanted to instantly help those people. I thought it was an interesting observation to be given.

Anyway.
It’s always interesting to see how the world keeps rolling on, how the internet is causing us to pull further and further apart and form ever more increasingly hostile sides.
I am gradually becoming more inclined towards the idea of leaving it all behind to become an author who just sits quietly in the shadows, watching everything pass on by.
It sounds much more peaceful.

Keep well,
KL

 

A little bit of this…a little bit of that…

I haven’t been very well this week – I thought – perhaps, when I woke up this morning I might be alright, but, after pottering around cleaning a bit, it appears I’m still utterly exhausted.

I’m also finding myself in a bit of a lull with my writing – I’m still writing, I’ve written over 20,000 words just this week alone, but I question why? I felt recently that my dreams of becoming a traditionally published author were shattered due to choices I made almost ten years ago, and I’m still reeling a bit from that.
I want to bring stories and adventures to people, but I have no idea how anymore.
I am, frankly, feeling very, very lost.

It’s okay, though, everyone get’s lost on their journey, and I’m sure I’ll stumble my way forward again.

On the positive, my house is wonderful! Have I told you about my incredible, wonderful, amazing house?  No? Well. It’s beautiful! It’s my dream house. It’s cute, it’s adorable, and it’s perfect for a daydreaming author like me.

I have to gradually do it up, gradually save up money to fund little projects, but that’s the fun of it, right?

Over the past two weeks I’ve been doing some arts and crafts. I thought I’d share some of them with you.

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My garden as a lot of beautiful hydrangea’s so I am sort of going for a hydrangea theme. This is the beginning of a sign I’m hanging out the front of the house to direct people to the door, as my door faces a reserve and not the street. It’s a bit unusual.

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It’s almost finished. Just needs a varnish, hooks and a chain. I have contemplated a lot the last few weeks about how much I really, really need to own a drill. ^_^

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Hopefully I will be collecting my cat, Aislinn, this afternoon. Originally we had decided to let her remain at my parents house – but I’ve been getting very lonely, and was going to buy a new indoor cat – upon hearing this, my Dad thought that I may as well try to keep Aislinn inside as an indoor cat since she is getting so old and just sleeps all the time anyway. So, we’re going to give that a go. Thus, I made this adorable sign for the front porch.

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See those three frogs in the front – I found them in the garden. They’re pretty adorable, but they’re also old, in need of a good paint – and they’re red – why are they red? So confused…red frogs…anyway…I repainted them.

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They turned out very adorable. Makes me wish I could do more painting of figures. It’s a lot of fun.

And that is what I have been up to as I distract myself from pain. Painting is always fun. ^_^

Hope you’re all well!
Cheers!
KL

 

 

Orphans & Outcasts Release! Yay!

I am very excited to tell you all that my new book, Orphans & Outcasts, has been released in both eBook and Paperback. The paperback version comes with beautiful illustrations as well – so that’s totally a bonus reason to pick that one up. ^_^

To celebrate Orphans & Outcasts release you can pick up KEY: Book One of Chronicles of the Children for FREE on Amazon Kindle. I really hope you enjoy the beginning of the epic adventure!

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Where to find Orphans & Outcasts

Amazon Kindle

Illustrated Paperback

 Bringing to life a new book is so much fun. It constantly baffles me that a story takes shape and form in my imagination and I can type it out, shape it, gradually craft it and then, have a book for people to enjoy. But that book first came out of…well…really nothing? Right? It came out of just – imagination – isn’t that incredible. I think it’s incredible.

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The full wrap around cover is gorgeous. Art work done by Ben Wootten – such a fantastic, amazing artist who picks up my ramblings and creates masterpieces out of them.
I do enjoy doing the graphics – it’s an enjoyable part of being an indie author I guess, being able to control the little things. ^_^

 

I also love the chance to illustrate and express my world through not just words. While I am sure everyone who reads my books will have very different ideas of what the characters and world would look like (and I hope they do) being able to illustrate is a joy, and making beautiful books to share is so exciting.

Nixyle

Princess Nixyle, one of the characters in the novel. She’s been around in my head for a long time, and it’s so nice to finally tell her story.

 

Denvy

Denvy Maz – very much the main character of Orphans & Outcasts, or at least, the character who inspired me to write the book. All my other books have characters who are quite ‘young’ as heroes (not counting, you know, ancient gods…) but Denvy is – ah – one of those ‘ancient gods‘ and his age and sudden removal of his immortality is really interesting to explore.

Titus

Titus Timothy Tevlon – one of my favourite secondary characters from both Chronicles of the Children and Northland Rebellion. Titus is a Messenger Hunter, a very rare type of Messenger who was consumed by a Twizel but managed to keep his sanity. It makes him extremely skilled at hunting Twizels, but ostracised by Messengers.

 

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They’re awful pictures – because my phone camera is just horrible – but in the paperback version of the book I finally had the chance to do something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and that is add a little comic at the back. Something connected to the world of Livila, but is a random ‘Myth’ from their history. It turned out so well. I am SO, SO, SO happy with it!!

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I’m really looking forward to being able to do more things like this in the future. I mean, it takes me FOREVER, but they’re just fantastic when printed.

So, if you’re wanting to begin this journey – and it’s a real journey, I can tell you that – KEY: Book One – is free right now, I think for another day and you’re most welcome to jump right in and join the heroic adventure.

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Update – Burnside Libcon

Can you believe it’s already July?
I can’t.
Honestly, it seems the older I get the faster time just seems to rush by. Each year’s pace quickens, and yet, nothing really changes around me. It is a very odd sensation, to feel the days roll into each other, day fading into night, and night blooming into day, at such a rapid pace, and still discovering myself in the same place I was the year before, and the year before that.
Is this truly what adult life is? I often find myself pondering…
Is this…all life is?
Anyway, before end up telling you all about my existential crisis, and trust me, I could waffle on about it, I have some exciting news to bring to the table.

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On the 15th of July, at Burnside Library, here in my beautiful city of Adelaide, I shall be attending Libcon. I’ll be on a panel of other amazingly talented, wonderful and fantastic authors. It’s a real honour and privilege and I am’s really excited. (Hopefully this time I’ll actually <i>smile</i> at bit. XD Gotta learn to smile.)
It’d be wonderful to see you there, if you can come along. Libcon will be between 10AM and 4PM and I’ll be selling both KEY and PROTECTORS there. Sorry, I haven’t managed to get Orphans and Outcasts out yet.
Want to see the list of all the illustrations I have to do that book? By the end of September, well, technically SOONER, so that I can actually make the book and then order the copies, so it all arrives before Supernova in November. Gosh, I’m cutting this closer. Oh gosh, I am so worried.
Tah dah…my list.

ART

Yeah. Bit of a list.
But I’m prepared for some late nights if I have to. I love it. I love creating these things, and I love bringing a book out. It is SO exciting to see it come together in the final stages. I just can’t wait to hold the book. *squeeee*

You can see me working on some of the illustrations on my Youtube Channel:

 

At the back of Orphans and Outcasts I’m also working on some comics that will be added.
These are taking awhile to do. Here are pages from a comic called ‘Trench Ealdo’ (and it connects with Book 3, because everything in my world is connected…) just to show you how it’s going. They’re not in order…by the way… 😀

 

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I am also continuing to write Book 3 of Chronicles of the Children, though it is going very, very slow.
Encouragement would be welcome. I’m really struggling with it at the moment…just an immense lack of feeling like it’s worth it, really. 😦
Also writing a much shorter novel too, that has utterly NOTHING to do with the Chronicles of the Children world, that I won’t talk about until I know more about the publication possibilities, but it has been a fun endeavour to write something so very different.
So yeah, lots to do, lots to keep me busy — and I’m still having that existential crisis…funny heh.

Hope you’re all keeping well.
Thanks for all your support.
*hugs*
Kylie

A lot of Art

So I have a lot of art to do in the next couple of months.
Like.
A LOT.
As in, I am going to be in front of my computer every day just doing art. That’s it. Art.
This isn’t a problem. I am really happy to be doing art, it just feels a little overwhelming to be staring at a list of illustrations I need to get done for my next novel and wondering…ah…whoops…deadline.
DEADLINE.

Did I mention DEADLINE.

Hah. Hah. Oh boy.

I should be doing art right now.
But instead I am currently writing a short novel I hope to submit to a company here in Adelaide. I’ve always wanted to write a ‘family survives a disaster’ novel and I figured this would be a great opportunity to write that one book I’ve always, really, really wanted to write. It’s only 40,000 words. I can write that in like…two weeks, but, the topic requires a lot of research.
Maybe I can get my brother-in-law to help. He’s good at research…

Anyway, where was I, ah yes, ART.

So, if you’ve ever picked up the paperback versions of KEY and Protectors you’d know they’re illustrated. I really love illustrating fantasy novels. I think it adds another dimension to the story, and it’s fun.

Right now my amazing editor and I are working on the first book in the currently titled ‘Northland Rebellion’ series that fits in between my main ‘Chronicles of the Children’ series. We’ve almost finished the editing. Very exiting.

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Here is the half-title page. I’ve been a bit worried though…Jarvis is ‘another boy’ and in an industry that is increasingly looking for female protagonists I don’t know if featuring him on the first page is a good idea. I thought, maybe, to change it to one of the female characters – in which – this book has many.
But I think I’ll leave it as it is, as the title page I am working on balances things out.

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I’m trying a different style for this book – different from KEY and Protectors. I wanted to go for a more painted style. I don’t know how it will print, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Here is Khwaja Denvy and Ki’b. For this book – I would have to say Khwaja Denvy is the ‘protagonist’.
I actually wrote this book for Lance.
Lance was an elderly gentleman at the cafe I write at. We would talk whenever he visited, and he told me stories about his time in WWII, growing up as the son of a German father and an English mother. He marvelled me with his energy and vitality despite growing old. We laughed together, we cried together. He was the first man (other than my father) to ever call me beautiful. Every time he would see me he would tell me, ‘You are so beautiful today. Why, if I was a young man, I would marry you.’
I never got the chance to tell him how much those words meant to me. How much those words blessed me. I learnt so much from him.
His favourite character from KEY was Denvy. He considered himself to be Denvy. Lance died before I was able to show him even the draft of Orphans and Outcasts, and I’m actually a lot more emotional about it then I thought I would be, now that I’m coming up to releasing the book.
So I guess that’s why I chose to focus on Denvy as the ‘hero’. Because I saw an interesting story in telling things from the point of view of an older character, thanks to my time with Lance.
Denvy just happens to be a giant-cat alien…

Starting a new novel

Book 3.
Ohhhh. Book 3.

So I already have a fabulous outline for Book 3, but now, with an outline all done and dusted, comes the actual work of writing the prose. That important…part…of turning an outline into a novel. This phase comes with its own difficult challenges.

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The first of these challenges being a sort of ‘resetting’ that is required when switching out of outline mode into prose mode. After having spent such a long time writing just an outline, dot pointing every single thing that happens in a chapter.
Zinkx walked over to the tree and rested while he said blaa, blaa, blaa.
Shanty swung a club
Sam shook his head.
Skyeola waved his wand–sorry–conductor.
That sort of stupid, silly, dot-point like outline that I do because…I am ridiculous.

Now I have to move away from that into actual ‘story-telling mode’ and its hard. Oh. It’s hard. I sat at the cafe the other week just staring blankly at a white page of doom open in Office Word with the cursor blinking at me and while I had the Outline sitting there, right next to me, I was just drawing a total and utter BLANK.
What the heck was I supposed to write? I started to panic. Could I do this? Oh no…oh no…oh no!!

Wait. Wait. Hang on. Hang on. I had the same problem when I was switching from Book 2 Outline to writing Book 2. Ohhhh.

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Cafe time!

So, I thought to what I had done back then. I got out my pen and notebook and I kick started my imagination by writing the oldie-fashioned way. Totally confused everyone at the cafe, which was amusing. I guess it’s a bit odd to see the author who is such a quick touch typist suddenly switch to using a pen and notebook.

The words started the flow. Not great, mind you, but at least something was coming onto the page. It’ll likely need a serious rewrite by the time I get to the end of the novel, but I do have to start somewhere.

I think the major problem I am having is getting back into the ‘voices’ of the characters. Zinkx’s somewhat dry, sarcastic drone that I imagine him having when he’s the POV character. Shanty’s comforting warm demeanour hiding her slowly growing fierceness. Sam’s upbeat chirpiness, and his childishness gradually fading as the heavy burden of his task becomes ever more apparent. Skyeola’s melancholy and bitterness giving way to a subdued adulthood.
It’s like I halted all that for six months while writing the Outline and now I’m having to remember their voices, their actions, the little nuances that make up their characters.

Here is an example of just how different the outline plan can be from the writing prose I end up with, and just keep in mind, none of this might end up in the final cut. (The prologue that ended up in Protectors, some of you might recall, is very different from the Prologue I had originally written for Protectors, let alone the first chapter of the book!!) So I always go into writing a novel knowing how unlikely it will be that anything I write will end up in the final production.

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Zinkx slammed into the ground, rolling across sharp basalt rocks, his suit no longer able to absorb the sheer force of the assault as the explosion of the mine blasted away his battery back. Skin tore. His crystal visor cracked and toxic air flooded his lungs. He could not stop the roll, his hands threaded bloody as he clawed at the jagged rocks. One moment he was spinning, the next he was airborne, and over a cliff, sailing downward, into the red glow of an open wound into the earth. Lava swamped his vision.

Zinkx reacted. A surge of lighting ignited through his limbs, spinning free of his bloodied hands, coiling together to form ropes, and latched onto the cliff side. He jerked to a halt, landing knee deep in the molten rock. His suit flared with vectors between the seams, and alarms blinked across his visor. Zinkx heaved on the ropes, surging himself out of with a thrust of gravity control. He landed in another uncontrolled landing, crying out as his burning legs gave way.

The desire to curl over and give into the blackness that threatened to swamp him was intense, but the horrifying dreamathic colours coming across his damaged visor urged him to ignore the call to collapse. His squad needed him. He had dragged them into this, he was going to get them out of it. Tearing off his utility belt in a blind panic Zinkx ripped into the painkillers, thrusting the syringe through his suit and into his thigh. The relief would be at least enough to ignore his damaged body and the failing of his battle suit. His replacement visor was shattered. There was no choice then but to reseal his broken one and hope the patch worked long enough until help arrived. Picking himself up Zinkx tightened the strap on the treasure he had tied to his back.

The canopic jar.

The result of their infiltration into the Zaprex fairy-castle of the Dam, holding back the Sea of Inquisitives. Even now, through the thick yellow miasma choking the horizon, he could see the immense structure rising out of the charred black earth. Its silver, sleek architecture, like all Zaprex buildings appeared netted together in a series of enormous hexagons, that upon closer inspection, became smaller grids, upon even small interlocking webs. It astounded him that he and his squad were the first in generations to manage any infiltration into the ancient Dam. He was half in the mind that the High Elder had sent him on a fool’s errand in the hope he and his squad would perish—he would not have put it past the erratic man who loathed any competition to his position.

“You’d better be worth it…” he whispered to the precious artefact.

Zinkx threw himself forward with a bounce of gravity control. If his legs where useless he was going to have to overwork everything else—he could not allow the canopic jar to fall into the hands of the enemy, nor could he return to the House of Flames and High Elder empty handed.

::Captain!:: His lieutenant’s pictographs, sweeping and smooth despite how frantic they came across, filled out over his visor in thick black lines. ::Captain where are you?::

::Kaitla?:: The disorientation of dreamathic communication caused him to halt. He had never been particularly skilled in communicating through the crystal visors with the colours of emotions, making them form understandable patterns, and it was made all the worse with damaged equipment. ::Kaitla, I got thrown by the mine. Count me into your position.:: He sent back. Unlike Kaitla’s beautifully sculpted colours, his always went across in globs and splatters, ending up like embarrassing ink stains.

Numbers threaded quickly over his visor screen and he followed their position through the smoke. The mine had been unexpected, and he should have scanned for such a weapon, but the pinning fire of the Twizel legion following them under a blind fog of toxic cloak had been frantically distracting. He had paid the price for his panic.

A bullet ricocheted off a nearby rock and Zinkx ducked behind it, eyeing the nearby cliffs, visible only in sharp shadows cast from the eerie glow of the murky lava draining down in slow, majestic falls, overflowing into deep trenches.

::Kaitla, I’m coming in hot, get a shield up.::

::Aye, sir.::

He fisted his hands. Muscles flinched, prepared for the pain, and he it took deep breathes to unwind the knots. He burst into a run, forcing it through his legs. Bullet fire rained down, cracking the soil. He lunged as a shield of metal surged out of the ground, throwing up rocks and dust. Zinkx looked up from his crouch at the taller figure of his lieutenant in a gleaming silver battle suit. Either Kaitla’s battery pack had been damaged, or his supply was running low, for the liquid shine that usually glinted off the skin-tight armour was failing, and the daffodil signage that indicated their ranking as soldiers had lost its lustre glow.

::You look like trakri sir.:: A hand was offered to him, he seized it.

::Thanks.:: He stood with the aid, ignoring his trembling legs. ::We need to move.::

::Problem, that.:: Kaitla winced as his shield was assaulted and the noise was near deafening. ::And it’s not just our friends on the ridge,:: his colours turned a sarcastic green before quickly shifting to grief sickened grey, ::Sir, it’s Ariel, she…she triggered the mine.::

Zinkx’s already dry mouth felt now like he had swallowed a spoonful of ash. No. No. He refused to think—no. He pivoted on his heels. Lying under an ice blanket his squads medical nurse was lying stationary on the hot rocks. He grabbed for the cold blanket. It disintegrated in his hands, revealing her lower extremities and he choked on the whine escaping his throat.

Her suit had resealed the wound.

It was designed to do so.

It was designed to save their lives.

But it made no difference, to a Messenger, this was a death sentence.

Her legs were gone.

Her dreamathic colours over his visor were the horrible shades of pale pottery, broken and unfixable. He could barely understand them with the cracks in the crystal.

::Leave me, Captain…please.::

::Never.:: He shifted to her side and altered his gravity. He slid his arms under her. ::I would never.::

::I am useless now. They’ll just put me in the Breeding Program.:: Her colours turned blue and the strokes sharp—terror, filled with terror.

::I won’t let them do that to you. Now, get on my back.::

She struggled. Her heart was not in it. Zinkx grabbed her visor, placing his against it, ignoring the cracks.

::Ariel, we can do this. We can make it. I need you. I need my medic. I’m torn up inside. I’m going to need you.:: Her sobs echoed through the dreamathic bond. Her fingers around his shoulders tightened, the colours of the dreamathic tears like pattering toxic rain turning gradually a deep determined orange of resolve. It was back, the desire to live, to fight again. Zinkx bit down on his lips as he swung her onto his back. His legs could give way when he was free of this, for now, he had legs to carry her with and carry her he would.

::Lieutenant, let’s go.::

Kaitla spread his hands, metal splitting like a wave around them as his birth elemental-gift danced with the ease of an experienced welder. The metal shield rolled, becoming wheels, spinning off in two directions.

::I’ll cover you.:: The clipped reply came, ::Make it over the ridge sir.::

Zinkx set his gaze forward. The next ridge. Their last communication had pinged off a Thyrrhos warship in that direction. That was their safe zone—if the vessel was even still anchored there. He had to believe it was. He had to believe that Prometheus would have waited for him.

Slamming his boots into the unstable ground Zinkx ran, balancing himself only with thrusts of gravity control. Kaitla’s metal shields spun, twirling back and forth, spitting up sparks of lava as they sliced through the earth, blocking the onslaught of weapon fire from the distance. It was a small blessing that the Twizels were not engaging them in close combat. That meant the high possibility the Thyrrhos warship was docked over the ridge.

His feet left the ground suddenly.

Ariel’s grip on his shoulders tightened.

Laughter burst out of him, unexpectedly, as he sailed downward in a rush. In the distance the shambled together shape of the Thyrrhos warship docked by the Sea of Inquisitives sent a rush of relief through him, flooding his chest and the pain of his jarring landing was just bearable. Kaitla skidded down beside him, rolling before scrambling up and spinning back to look up the ridge they had leapt down.

::Traki!:: The lieutenant swore.

Zinkx needed no other warning. He ducked. Ariel cried out as the Twizel’s talons clipped the air nearby. Zinkx grabbed her around the waist and flung her away, watching, barely, as she was caught by one of the approaching Thyrrhos. The enormous Fire Elementals thundered past, shaking the earth, splitting the small fissures in the crust, splurging up lava. The lone Twizel stood no chance against the storm of fire that met it, it’s bulbous body of rippling shadows, mangled together with stolen muscles and bones from Messengers it had consumed, was ripped apart by weapons that towered over Zinkx.

Zinkx dropped to his knees as the energy drained out of him. Safe. He was safe.

“You’re late, fire-sprite.”

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For those who want to know what Thyrrhos look like. Kaitla and Ariel are much older in this image though.

If you’ve read Protectors, you might notice that the prologue of Book 3 covers one of the stories Zinkx tells Skyeola and Sami (I think. It might just be Skyeola…) about the time he fell into a pool of lava and learnt how to summon lightning without a battery pack — and how he got the scars on his legs.

However my concern is, at the moment, I’m not so great at writing young-Zinkx voice. Young-Zinkx is rebellious, loud and wouldn’t hesitate to punch someone he’s having a disagreement with. Older-Zinkx very much thinks things through a bit more, having learnt from his younger-self mistakes.

So this will get a rewrite when I’m much more settled into writing, as I still feel like I writing to much like I’m outlining. It’s going to take awhile to switch around.
I just find it a fascinating experience to see the difference between the outline and the prose.

It’s going to be a really long journey. I’m always in awe of authors who can punch these 200,000 word books out in a few months. Perhaps someday I’ll get that good.

Oz Comic Con Adelaide

Oz Comic Con Adelaide wrapped up on Sunday. I’ve spent Monday in recovery mode. Just chilling. The weather right now is truly beautiful. Autumn. I love Autumn. The sky feels richer in its blue, the air crisp, and the chill of Winter is just beginning to set in. It’s lovely.

It was a wonderful weekend, and I am so grateful to everyone who came along to visit me at my booth, to all those who purchased my novel. Thank you. Thank you so much! It was such an honour. I hope the adventure you have embarked upon brings you great joy as you read it.

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This year my little sister helped with bump-in.
I am immensely blessed to have such a tolerant family, who accept the craziness of my life, and just how much I enjoy what it is that I do and the geeky-culture that I immense myself in. I am sure its difficult, at times, for them to fully understand it, but they accept it and enjoy it along with me anyway.
I wouldn’t have been able to set up without Mel. So, thank you Mel for the help. It really meant a lot to me that you came along. I am SO GLAD we found that trolley and didn’t have to carry the boxes of books.

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Anyone notice that our glasses match our hair colour?

It was my Dad who took the time out of his weekend to keep me company and help man-the-booth on Saturday and Sunday morning, missing church. Dad works away from Adelaide during the weeks, in Whyalla, and only has the weekends home, so as you can imagine, his weekends are rather precious, and he spent his weekend at Oz Comic Con. So, an immense thanks goes to my Dad as well.
My little sister popped in on Sunday afternoon so Dad could visit my grandparents, and she manned-the-booth during the time I did a talk with some fellow indie authors. Which went very well, I feel, and if you did attend, let me know what you thought!

Saturday morning, when Dad and I arrived early — my favourite time, because I can run around freely without a crowd — I skipped happily between all the stalls looking at all the amazing things. I don’t have a great camera on my phone anymore so uploading to social media has become difficult, hence my silence over the weekend.

It was lovely to see so much artistic stuff going on, walls you could draw on, Anime station you can scribble at happily.

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I drew Sami on the Scribble Wall.

It is difficult to leave a booth that is fitted between two other booths. So all the photos I do have tend to be taken from behind my booth once the show starts.
Thankfully I had some visitors.
Deadpool dropped by. Which was awesome.

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And then there was this amazingly well crafted Toothless along with incredible cosplays from How To Tame a Dragon. Seriously. Look at the work they put into everything. They could even ride Toothless. Genius.

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I am always so impressed by cosplay. What people dress up as, the level of detail they’ll go into, and who they’ll come along as. It is magical, inventive, and colourful.

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Half the fun of a convention is sharing a ‘street’ of the Artist Alley with wonderful, creative people who love the convention circuit just as much. I did take a photo of our ‘street’ but it blurred beyond recognition (like I said, terrible phone camera). dsc05023_zpsowaninpq

My Dad said something interesting to me while I was debating about getting an autograph. He said: “This only happens once a year (or twice, depending if I do Supanova), and it makes you happy.”
And its true. To be brutally honest, I don’t have any friends (at least here in Aussieland) in which to geek out over Anime, or Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and gaming. No one to play Dungeons and Dragons with monthly. As Karen said in our talk, ‘writing can be a very lonely job’ and sadly, I’ve just ended up a bit isolated because, one, I’m naturally introverted, and two, my health caused me to seclude myself away.
And it is only now, that I’ve matured a bit more, and learnt some techniques to cope, that I’m trying harder to get out and about — to ‘make friends’ which is *really* hard. If anyone has a magical formula for it, I’d appreciate this knowledge.

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Do things that make you happy.
Go to conventions. Go for walks. Watch a movie. Read a book. Play a game.
Even the tiniest things can bring joy sometimes, in the dimmest of moments.  There can be a flower growing in your garden, a single flower, and it can bring on a smile.
Or, perhaps, this is just me. I do not know.
However, that is what I learnt from this weekend, to remember happiness is still there if I seek to find it.

Remembering those who came before us…

Today is Australia Day.
I have a lot of memories centred around Australia Day. The cool sea breeze catching my rose pink cheeks, the shadows cast by the great and mighty norfolk pines that protected my home town of Whyalla. The clearest memory I have is the year in which my parents took us to an Australia Day fair in the Ada Ryan Gardens (or as I called them when I was a child, the “Alderaan Gardens”).

It was a beautiful fair.
The songs, the dance, the laughter and festivity has blended together in my memories but above all I recall the happiness of the smiles. Everyone was happy through my childhood eyes, I was happy.

If you don’t know, my home town of Whyalla is an Aboriginal term, meaning “place with deep water.” My Dad told me when we walked past some beautiful aboriginal art along the main street of the town. I recall him pausing, thinking for a moment, and after much pondering he said “I think it means, “place of water.”

My happiness on Australia Day lasted for a long time. My Dad would get the day off, family activities would commence – but I was not blissfully unaware of what the day signified. How could I not be, I am — as much as I try to deny it, part of the Millennial Generation, and at school, I was drilled with how my ancestors had stolen what did not belong to them.

So, I would ask myself in my childhood mind, did this mean I did not belong anywhere?
Did this mean I did not have a home?
If I had stolen the land beneath me, I had no home. I did not belong anywhere. I could not return to the land I had come from, but I neither belonged in the land I was now in.
So therefore, where did little Kylie belong?

Where am I getting these questions from, you ask? My journals. I kept journals from when I was six. These questions live in my journals. They are quite the fascinating look into a mind of a child.

I am not sure what others of the Millennial Generation were taught in school about European Settlement in Australia, and South Australia, but I did not learn much and what I did learn was from a rather negative perspective.

What European Settlement history I learnt, I learnt from my father, and his parents, and from my mother’s mother — stories passed down through them. It was my father, while we were out hiking, who told me the tales of the great Australian Explorers who trekked across the deserts. Oh, he spun the most magnificent tales of their adventures, and their eventual fates but I revelled in such (recent) history.
It was my grandmother who taught me about Douglas Mawson, she even took us kids to a Museum Exhibition all about the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. It was my grandmother who taught me about Ned Kelly, and why he became such a legend. She taught me about the Irish and why they were so badly treated, the British (and the difference between Scott’s, Irishmen, Welshmen etc.) the French, the Italians and Germans.
It was my incredible mother who introduced me to the wonders of Asia.
It was my father who let us explore the old ruins of Whyalla’s WWII base on Hammock Hill and explained why they existed, and I felt the weight of his words as though I was reading a history book.

One of my favourite stories that my Popa tells me is a tale of being a little boy, lying outside the farmhouse during the night when a thunderstorm rolled through. Despite being an author, despite my ability to imagine things beyond this realm, I cannot place myself into the shoes of that little boy, lying out on the verandah of a farmhouse after a hard day of milking cows, watching as lightning broke the sky like a shattered window and thunder rocked the very foundations of the earth beneath him.
Life for him is so far removed from life as I know it, just in two generations, that I cannot fathom what he experienced.
I cannot comprehend that my Nana’s family used a horse and cart. It fractures the reality I know, because I have known nothing but the comfort of cars.

I feel as though my generation has forgotten the harshness of Australia. How untamed it was in the era of our grandparents and their parents, how they had to carve the civilisation we take for granted out of this beautiful land.

Are we are losing our history?
I fear it is not being taught. Not handed down in tales any longer.
Sometimes history is not in the great, magnificent things done by incredible people, or the terrible, horrendous things done by those who knew no better, but it is in the simple lives of those who lived before us.
Like my great grandmother who served the far richer farmers of this region, whose toil will never really be known, but she built this nation, upon red soil, with so many others like her.
And I wish we could be taught to remember them too.