Friendship & Future

A week or so ago I had a wonderful Christmas Lunch with some author friends. My first ever Christmas Lunch with friends. It was really, really wonderful. I really enjoyed it, especially after a week of feeling incredibly lonely. 

During one of the conversations one of my friends mentioned something that has stuck with me – I cannot remember who (sorry guys!) but it was really profound. 
It was about how lucky we are to be given the chance to put our work out into the world without curators breathing down our necks. How amazing it is that we can go to conventions, put up our booths, and sell our work – and it struck me – wow – yeah – it is really incredible! 

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this since our lunch. 
In a world today that is so focused on offence, oppression, shaming each other, and ‘correct thinking’, being an independent author who manages to get by on your own steam is really, really something special.   

Don’t get me wrong – I get a lot of help from my parents, who are super, super supportive, and I have THE BEST editor in the world, and a brilliant cover artist, and it’s been amazing the last two years, forming a network of people I can call friends. Having a support network in a community like independent publishing is reassuring, and, it’s also a lot of fun. 
I even have wonderful, brilliant readers I can talk to on Facebook and at conventions – and this – this is worth everything! Thanks guys! 

But I think a lot of writers and independent authors will understand what I mean by the hours spent alone, the work you do alone, the things you just can’t share. Those days of stressing about getting an order on time, or if you’ve typeset a novel correctly – realising you’ve left out a WHOLE PAGE in an order of a 100 books. 

Right now I am…er…stressed. I have so much art to do, not much time to do it in, and I have no idea where I’ll get finances from to do all the things I want to do in the coming year. 

But that stress is also excitement. This weird, bubbling ball of excitement that tells me that it’s going to be a fantastic, amazing, brilliant year – no matter what happens. For the first time in a long time I am excited for a new year. 

I have NO idea how I am going to do anything. 
And suddenly – that is the most thrilling thing that has ever happened to me. 

A massive shout out to Katie, Matt, Karen, David and Alex. 
Thanks for the friendship. 
Merry Christmas everyone! 

The Spirit Prevails

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Can I write a review of a book I published and written by my Nana, Gwenneth Leane?
Yeah. Sure I can, when I feel this strongly about the subject, I think it’s okay.

The Spirit Prevail’s is the type of novel I wish had been around when I was doing Aboriginal Studies at school – instead I was just doing boring sheet work, and getting told off for not being PC enough (apparently my Aussie slang was, well, you know, slang. And yes, I have never forgotten being called out in class, even if it was over the phone, and being told off, because of my country slang. This memory is with me for life.)
I wish we’d had a book like this: personally dictated by an Aboriginal but transcribed by a White Australian*, therefore making me, a White Australian, able to grasp the incredible and profound world that opens up within the pages of the book. It is eye opening. I highly recommend this book. It is a really fascinating journey, learning the life of an incredible woman who stood up to great oppression and fought for her people.
I am honoured that I got to meet her, and I just love hearing stories from my grandparents and parents about their times travelling with her.

*I really don’t like using the term “White Australian” – I’d much rather say European Australian, or just break it down even further, but, in terms of understanding this book and the cultural significance of ‘white Australian culture’ at the time this book is set, it is the most fitting term, even if it has been co-opted in our most recent generation.

You can pick up the paperback version on Amazon.com and for the Aussies Amazon.com.au

You can also find it at my Etsy shop, The Comfort Library, if you’d like a signed version from my Nana.

Scribbling Characters

The Mirror’s of Tikal is the second book in Northland Rebellion– the sub-series to Chronicles of the Children that started with Orphans and Outcasts. I’ve been having a lot of fun rewriting it – as I finally feel like the merging of Chronicles of the Children Book 3 and eventually what transpires in Book 5, is slowly coming together, and it is all very, very exciting. I can’t wait to write it all. It fills me with so much excitement.

If you have read my series, you’ll know a lot of what goes on has been spread over a long period of time – and Chronicles of the Children is really set in just a fraction of Livila’s history.

The focal character of Orphans and Outcasts and The Mirror’s of Tikal is Denvy Maz; the old Dream Master of the Northlands, who has lost his immortality due to a binding yoke placed upon him by Twizels. Denvy is one of the environmental programs created by the Zaprex Nefertem to replace the Elemental Titans after the Thousand Sol-Cycle War. It is Denvy’s history, why he fled the war, and what happened between him fleeing the war, ending back in Pennadot to be captured and shipped off to Utillia that is pretty much the immense chunk of history that needs to be filled in.

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I often get asked ‘Why Chronicles of the Children?’ It sounds like it’s a series written for children. It’s actually really simple – the over all series is about the children of the Zaprexes, and the family’s that emerge out of those children, and the impact those children have on a world history. And I’m not always referring to biological children either.

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In The Mirror’s of Tikal I decided to start weaving in some of the history that shaped Livila after the Thousand Sol-Cycle Wars.
In the ‘prologues’ before each chapter, you’ll be meeting Disgleirio – an ancestor of David and Daniel – who took it upon himself to raise up Pennadot after it’s collapse from the vacuum left by the fall of the Zaprex Empire.

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Disgleirio get’s his own ‘Prologue’ novel called ‘The King who Wanders‘ – but you know with how much writing I have to do, I don’t know when I’ll write it, so this is the best I can do to weave the story quickly into the narrative – as past events have ripples that alter the future. (For anyone wondering, Disgleirio is Malik’s younger brother…and it is to protect Disgleirio’s children that Malik establishes the Mahvash.)

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You’ll also meet Skri Mazaki – a distant relation to Skyeola and Chans – an outcast Tech-Talker of the Batitic Empire, one of the few remaining Tech-Talkers left after the Dragon ordered the execution of all technomancers during the Thousand Sol-Cycle War.
Have you been wondering where that Dream Stone Skyeola and Chans have, came from? How it relates to ANYTHING in this saga? Well. Oh. Well. Wonder no more, readers. In The Mirrors of Tikal you’ll learn about how and why the Mazaki Brother’s have a Dream Stone, and in Book 3 of Chronicles of the Children just let…let…it sink in…
Also, pay really close attention to any further mentions of Skri Mazaki because I promise you, his existence is practically the most important thing to the plot of Chronicles of the Children Book 5. Yes. It’s going to get complicated.

World-building – world-history – character scribbling – and eventually writing everything down into a narrative is truly satisfying.
Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to tell you my stories and share my world with you.

 

Finishing a Draft

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Last night I stayed up into the early hours, driven by an intense desire to finish Book 3’s first draft. I had left the cafe that morning two chapters away from finishing the novel and I promised myself as I got home, storing away a piece of cake, that I would finish the book no matter what – and eat my slice of cake! (It’s a tradition of my mine to have a piece of cake after I finish a book.)

I didn’t get a chance to sit back down at my computer desk until late in the afternoon, after a walk on the treadmill, by then I was in considerable pain, but I was determined – I wanted to finish this book. I had to finish this book.

Eight hours later I wrote the last words of the Epilogue – “He remained.”

Done. I was DONE.

Book 3: Messengers – standing at 113,081 words – which gives me plenty of breathing room for the second draft and the editing phase. I am very happy about that. It’s the first time I have felt comfortable about a word count.

Book 3 was VERY hard in the planning stages due to the sheer size of the Book and it was only after I decided to cut the novel down the middle – because, technically, looking at the plan it was really two books squished into one – that it started to take shape. I was loathed to cut it – I’m not joking when I say my series is already huge. Cutting the book in half makes my series just another book longer – at this rate I’m going to end up with a Wheel of Times sized series, not that I’d have a problem with that. ^_^

Splitting the book gave me so much more breathing room, I wasn’t confined to a word limit anymore. My panic drifted away and my writing just took off again.

I am really happy with how Book 3 ends. I don’t know if readers will be, but I am – there is a theme in Chronicles of the Children of circles, loops, of following a familiar path but you just keep repeating the same pattern, again, and again, but on a larger scale.
The idea, I suppose, that what has been done has been done before. I always got this feeling whenever I went hiking with my family, the paths we hiked on were so well taken, the eerie feeling that countless people had trekked the same roads before us I could never shake.

So, now begins the next step of the second draft, then hopefully the editing and maybe I’ll have a third book out in print, if all goes well.

KEY – Prologue

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By
Kylie Leane

 

Mum and Dad

You have always provided me with unconditional love, care and ever-available support.

You are my Towers.

Thank you for giving me the resilience to survive through my pain

and the belief that there are some dreams that are

worth chasing, stories worth telling, and love worth giving.

 

 

 

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We all start out on a road thinking we know the path sure and true –

But, I tell you now, we cannot possibly fathom the twists and turns in which our story shall go.

Instead, the Great Inker of the skies beyond writes our ever-flowing saga with celestial dust to spin us ever onward through life.

Though we may lose and we may gain,

there is never a thread left unwoven or a reason left unknown in any tale that is told.

I say unto you fellow wayfarers of well-worn paths, take up your pack, your blade, your cloak,

and lantern for there is darkness ahead.

You will need your light to guide you,

your pack to feed you, your blade to protect you, and your cloak to warm you along this tale.

It is customary in Pennadot when a traveler leaves a way-side inn

to speak blessings to the Sun by the resident

altar and wash hands in the liquid gold by the door.

So here I give you a blessing to send you on your way, dear friend:

May the blazing Sun always shine behind you,

May the wind blow westward for you,

And may the stars dance your road to light the way homeward,

So shall the fair and bliss favor you,

O traveler of myths, legends, and tales.

Fear not the blood, the tears of sorrow,

For a narrow road that is lonely and fraught with despair,

Will bring you to a City laden with Gold.

Sun-Saint Abl’ayn – Sundate 0298DC

 

 

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There is nothing that is greater in valor than to die in the place of another.

Pennadotian Human Proverb

 

Land: Pennadot

Black Day – Sundate 8600DC[1]

A vibrating twang of blades, mixed with the cries of death, spurred three children onward through the russet gloom of the golden Palace crested upon a hill. Fear of being caught up amongst the bloody battle forced strength into their exhausted limbs. Twisted shadows flickered between massive pillars that reached like claws to the high ceilings. David pulled his sobbing twin by the wrist. A dagger hung loose in his free hand, dribbling the blood of those he had slain over the floor in a scattered trail behind them.

A haze of yellow light, dancing with the glow of distant flames, shone through the colossal windows, burning the shadows like inked prints into the walls. In the valley below the Palace, the vast metropolis smoldered. Ash held a blanket over the evening, lavishing the glass, and seeping between cracks to gain entrance into the holy untainted grounds.

A soft tinkling sound reached his ears; a jingle of royal gold chimed in time with the sound of footfalls echoing through the alabaster halls.

Daniel hiccupped a sob.

David spun, pressing his hand against his twin’s mouth.

He glanced at the small girl staring at him in fright. She seemed as delicately perfect and breakable as a porcelain doll, with skin and hair ashen white. He thrust his twin into her arms, mouthing the words, “Citla, silence him.”

The girl scurried to obey as David led them further down the hall, out of earshot, slowing his pace to allow Citla a moment to comfort the weeping Daniel.

Tsk valai[2].” With a twist of his wrist David pointed his blade at his brother. “By the Sun, be silent! Or do you wish me to kill again? No one can see us leave, do you hear me? No one. I will kill whomever notices us. Now be silent…” A flare of pain caught him in the chest, the potency of it causing him to stagger forward as he rasped a gurgling cough. He tasted blood in his mouth and felt it trickle out of his lips.

With a cry, Daniel scrambled to his side.

“David, stop! You are pushing yourself too hard. Your illness will hurt you more.”

Tsk.” David pressed Daniel back into Citla’s arms. “We must hurry.” He wiped the blood away.

He shoved them both forward. “Move!”

They ran deeper into the Palace’s twisting corridors.

David ignored the burning in his chest; each breath challenging his rotting lungs.

It was all too late; the wheels of war were spinning. By now he was sure his father, the Sovereign King, would be engaged in battle with Zilon, Steward to the Throne.

He knew already who would win: Zilon the Steward, their once trusted uncle and the King’s right hand. Only, why was he taking such lengths to destroy Pennadot in a single, crushing night of mayhem and treachery? His attention shifted, and he skidded to a halt. He grabbed Daniel and Citla and pushed them behind him in protection. Thick shadows curled like tentacles across the floor. A tall figure stepped free of the blackened waves, dashing them to one side as though they were dust. David relaxed as a gentle voice spoke. “Milord Prince…”

“Chans.” The young prince replied with a nod.

The creature wandered forward on elongated legs. Large foot-claws, shaped in a horse-like curvature, tapped upon the marble floor. Around the slender ankles a shredded robe dragged, tainted with the filth of battle. Chans was elegantly graceful, standing with an air of superior breeding. Large black, leathery wings folded against his back, yet to lose all their childhood feathers, but already large enough for the young Batitic to cocoon safely within. His thin, slanted eyes shone cinder red. David felt them boring into him, spying the blood that stained his shirt and hands. He wrinkled his nose. The Batitic exuded the odor of blood conduction, a sickly magical stench akin to a poisonous sweat.

“You managed to get Skyeola?” David whispered in hope for the infant he had feared they would lose to the war.

Chans inclined his head, extending one wing to reveal a basket tied to his waist. Within, a babe slept a magically-induced sleep. “I would not leave my little brother in this mess,” he whispered fondly. His bestial appearance seemed more like a tender lioness as he glanced toward the purring nursling. Carefully he closed his wings to hide the precious bundle.

“I did as you asked, Milord.” The Batitic threw a bag to David.

The prince caught it and peered into it, nodding at the contents. “Thank you. Now, you must take Daniel and Citla.” Motioning to the two behind him he paused, coughing up more blood.

Daniel stepped forward in concern. Citla’s hand caught him. With the hem of his shirt David wiped blood from his chin.

“Take them out of the Palace. A group of Papa’s faithful paladins will meet you in the underground passages.” He felt the rasp in his voice and fought to keep his words a firm, sharp order that were not to be disobeyed. They were a clear display of his authority as a child of the starblood.

Chans bowed in acknowledgement. “I will do as you command, Milord Prince.”

Quickly David stripped out of his ruined clothing and changed into a fresh outfit pulled from the sack, suppressing the feeling that this might be the last time he would ever see his brother. He could see the confusion in Daniel’s eyes as Citla tugged him toward Chans.

“You had best hurry.” Chans shifted on his foot-claws uneasily. “My father is in the Ljotruaithne[3]. The province lords will break through the Palace doors at any moment. They will kill you if they find you here.”

David snorted. “Such is the plan.” He buckled the royal jewels around his neck, their weight all too familiar.

“Wait…” Daniel whimpered. “Those are my clothes…that…that is my crown.” He grabbed David’s bloodied hands, stalling him from placing the golden leafy circlet atop his own head.

Tsk, Daniel.” David glared at his brother. “The province lords want you dead. You are the last heir to the Emerald Throne and of the starblood. To gain rulership over Pennadot they must kill you. Someone has to die today, and since I am already dying it matters not if it is me.” His voice broke for a moment as his twin’s green eyes overflowed with tears.

Daniel’s grasp slackened, releasing his brother’s arms as he stepped back, shaking his head. “You are pretending to be me…to trick them…”

David turned slowly. He had clothed himself in royal attire, displayed as a being to be worshiped in the glory of the starblood that burned in his veins, his skin lambent with cosmic light.

“That is why we were born identical, Daniel, in every detail. That is why I was never exposed, why Papa never revealed that I existed.” With more maturity than he had ever shown as a child, David reached out. Gently, he gripped his brother’s cheeks and kissed him, wanting nothing more than to remain with him.

“I was born,” he choked back blood, “so that you could live and I…I was given this illness…so that I could die for you. Pennadot must have an heir after this night. Zilon and the province lords will lose if I do this! Papa will not die in vain.”

Daniel jerked to one side. “No…no… no…no!” he screeched. “I will not let you! I order you to stop and come with us!”

“It is too late.” David smiled weakly. “This is bigger than us. It always has been.” He shoved Daniel into Chans’ strong claws. The young Batitic grabbed the prince by the shoulder, ignoring his protests.

David glanced at Citla. In her frilly black dress she was the perfect little toy of the courts. Always they had been paraded like miniature adults, and, today, they had to be those adults. To live as children any longer would spell their deaths. Reaching out he pressed a finger to her lips, brushing aside a tear that trickled down her white cheek.

“Look after him always, Citla,” he whispered. “I entrust him to your care. Be with him. Never let him out of your sight…promise me this!”

Citla nibbled her lip. “I promise, your highness.” She followed Chans and Daniel into the yellow-stained darkness.

Chans glanced back. “Goodbye, Milord Prince,” he said as he vanished in a swell of shadows.

David fisted his hands, breathing deeply through lungs riddled with holes and filling with cursed starblood. He tilted his head toward the sky encased in the pillows of smoke. This day of blackness and never-ending night was the day he had been born for, and this was the night he would finally die.

He could not fathom what had caused Zilon to become a twisted monster who would betray the Emerald Throne but he did know one thing; he would die in his brother’s stead.

And he was not afraid.

No.

He was not afraid.

Chapter Break3

The humidity was stifling. Sweat dribbled off Chans’ furred skin. He tightened his grip on his conductor, a stick comprised of twirled wood and crystal with a small light radiating from the tip. The glow was enough to pierce the murky darkness of the ancient catacombs beneath Palace-Town. Forgotten roads had long been buried under thousands of sol-cycles of dirt. Like a network of spider-webs, the tunnels snaked their way beneath the colossal city built upon the hill of cities before it.

Very few maps had been drawn of the never-ending network. None save the royal family knew of its true purpose from centuries long past when the Lands of Livila had been at their peak and civilization had soared to magnificent heights.

Chans held within his mind the blueprints he had studied all his life. He had known since childhood that his ability to recall images had been a gift, for the catacombs would become his new home. After tonight, returning to the surface world would mean his death. His father’s anger would burn in a rage if ever he discovered that his eldest child had betrayed the Dragon to whom his blood-clan had sold their souls. Instead, Chans had chosen to save the royal heir of the Emerald Throne.

He could hear the young prince crying bitterly as they ran, and, with a swift glance behind, he saw Citla dragging him as he stumbled. She would not let him go, for David had ordered her to remain forever at Daniel’s side.

Soon the little prince would forget that he had ever had a brother who had once been the braver in the face of death. David’s existence would haunt all who remembered him in sol-cycles to come. Of that Chans was sure.

“How much further?” Citla’s soft voice carried through the darkness. The murk dragged at his limbs, thick like a cloak draped in the air, wanting to pull him back into the light above ground.

He smiled weakly. “Not much longer now.” He slowed his pace, foot-claws scraping the wet stones. Worriedly he checked under his wings. His baby brother was still safely cocooned therein. If all went well, the child would be returned to the surface and back into the arms of their father; none the wiser of the terrors that had been hidden from him.

An inhuman whine escaped from the back of Chans’ throat. It hurt knowing he would have to return his brother to the same man who would impassively murder a child such as David, but he had no choice. Skyeola belonged in the light, for a little while longer. He could only hope the kitten would grow up untarnished by their father’s ambitions.

“Come, come, this way.” He waved Citla and Daniel into a tunnel that opened up sharply on their left. Daniel’s weeping eased to painful sobs, muffled by the sodden walls dripping with acidic water. There was an abrupt whiff of fresher air. Chans tipped his head to one side; he caught the muted sounds of voices. Relief washed over him. He knew them, one was a deep baritone that he recognized as that of Lord Davies Telvon of the Icali-pi Province, one of the few lords who remained faithful to the Emerald Throne.

Flickering light drew them nearer as another voice joined the quiet conversation. By its sweet notes, it was obviously Lord Davies’ wife. It was a comforting sound to hear, and Chans was glad she had survived the horrors of battle. He knew she was with child. It was only natural, he felt, to fear for a woman who held another life within her.

He relaxed as they reached the small gathering of paladins. His job was now complete. In his five and ten sol-cycles of life, he knew he had already accomplished the task set by the tiny alien creature who stood waiting in the milky shadows.

Hazanin was the only Zaprex he had ever laid eyes upon. Some rumored him to be the last of the ancient, technologically-advanced race that had once ruled the stars above and healed the lands below. He stood only midriff-height to a Human; though humanoid in his limbs, the creature was too slim to be a living being with true bone structure. His unnatural figure was obvious even with the war robe of red, lined with weapons decked over his thin shoulder. Yet, despite being small and seemingly insignificant, there was danger in his eerie eyes, scleras shaded black with pupils gleaming crimson under square-shaped spectacles. He moved like a trained dancer, making an otherworldly and ethereal impression. The light Chans had seen in the gloom glowed from two long antennas rising from of a mop of raven hair. The little globes bobbed as the creature glided forward.

“Hazanin-sama[4].” Chans bowed in formal greeting, forcing his lips around the alien’s native tongue. The Zaprex was the first he had to address, for no one ignored the powerful being who ruled time and space. Even his father had respected and admired the Zaprex to the point of calling him beloved-friend.

Konnichiwa, Chans. You have done well.” Its mechanical speech was forced through an aging metal voice-box.

Chans stepped aside, glancing at Citla, who pulled Daniel forward.

 

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At the sight of the creature, the young prince cried out in relief. He threw his only slightly larger body into the strong metal arms of the cybernetic alien.

“You have to stop David. Please stop him. He said he is going to die instead of me! You have to stop him!”

Hazanin sighed. He placed his chin gently upon the boy’s cranium as he wrapped long arms around him, drawing him close in mothering comfort.

“Hush now my little one, ne,” he whispered, pointed ears tweaking as he reached up worn fingers, covered with a layer of green skin, to brush tears from the prince’s cheeks. The Zaprex smiled feebly, its ancient age revealed in tender eyes that held unimaginable knowledge.

Daniel whimpered. No one was coming to his aid; his protectors watched with stark treachery. He tried to struggle but the firm grip of the cyborg held him fast.

Something inside him was being stripped away as though paper was being peeled from within his mind. Hazanin placed a long finger and thumb upon his forehead, his eyes glittering in sorrow making the sudden betrayal only slightly less agonizing.

“Do not worry, my sweet one,” the ancient Zaprex whispered, “tomorrow when you wake up, this will all be gone. You will not remember David’s existence or this night’s events. It is best this night be forgotten to you. David is dead to us now, and dead he shall remain. Gomen, Daniel… gomen, my little star-prince.”

Daniel’s eyes widened as a sharp pain caught his temples and he flinched. His mind clouded as the eerie sensation of falling into nothingness swelled over him. It was worse than sleep; it was a deep pit that enveloped him, shrouding his body in darkness, dampening the burning gift of the starblood that flowed in his veins. His limbs grew heavy, and he slumped forward into a faint, murmuring softly, painfully aware of the tears cascading down his cheeks, and that they no longer glittered as they once had.

“But…but…I do not…want to forget…my brother…”


 

[1] DC: Of the Dragon’s Conquest

[2] A Human expression (high class) of frustration – can be shortened to just tsk, which would be akin to ‘shhhh’ when chiding someone.

[3] The Great Throne Room ‘Blessed by the Sun’ wherein the Emerald Throne is situated.

[4]  –sama: very high honorific, usually reserved for lords, gods, masters, rulers, or someone for whom one has ultimate or infinite respect.

Hazanin Prologue 2

 

Key: Book One of Chronicles of the Children on Amazon Kindle and Illustrated Paperback

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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Cafe Life

 

As I brush through the fly screen into the quiet atmosphere of the early morning lull, I am greeted with a call “Morning, Kylie.”
I lift my head. “Good morning,” I chime back in reply as I dump my heavy bag on my usual table. A single table, with two chairs, second up from the door, far enough away not to the catch the breeze. I would have preferred a seat by the window, in the comfy chair, but I loathed taking up two tables and four chairs for hours at a time – just for me and my laptop, didn’t seem proper, you know. 

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The new owners of my cafe – my cafe, funny that, it’s away’s been MY cafe in my head, even though, technically, I don’t own the place – anyway – the new owners are delightful, cheerful and always up for a chat. I still haven’t managed to figure out their names yet, but considering it took me several years to learn the names of the previous owners, I’m not to fussed, it will come in time.

I have been told to find another place, to move on – time and time again – but I am a creature of habit, someone who loves familiarity. Perhaps it isn’t a good thing, perhaps it is, perhaps I am stuck in a cycle that circles around and around, I do not know, but I love the comfort that comes with knowing a place and the people within it, and watching the world change gradually, year by year. I have seen women marry, new born children grow up, start school, all from my seat within this cafe. I’ve talked with war vets, listened to their heroic tales take me to Germany, England and to the skies within planes, or the fields of Africa, all while mulling over a cappuccino. 

My cafe is like the TARDIS. 

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It can transport me anywhere. Through the people within it, that share the magical place with me. 

Before the previous owners left one of the patrons painted a painting that now hangs in the cafe. When I first saw it, I just smiled, thinking; “Oh, that’s lovey, they put in some of the regulars…” I was a little sad, as I couldn’t see myself in my regular spot so I thought I must not have been included. 
Silly me.
Silly, silly me.
I was standing by the counter one misty winters morning and the painting had been hung on the wall nearby. As I was waiting for my turn, something caught my eye and I started laughing. It was me. There I was, sitting towards the back of the painting, wearing my black coat, my beanie, with my laptop and my  books. My eyes grew damp and my chest tightened. Was this what I looked like in the eyes of the other patrons?
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen – myself – in a painting. 

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Perhaps this sounds ridiculous, or maybe it’s just me, but I feel, almost as though I have become part of a mythos, that is gradually being crafted, day after day, year after year. A mythos that is our incredible little pocket in the world. And here I am, sitting it, writing stories of other worlds. Isn’t that just the most delightful thing.  

 

 

I never wanted to be a stereotype…

A stereotype.
I recall hearing the word frequented in writing classes I attended – telling me to avoid stereotypes, type-casting characters into cookie cutter blocks, that I needed to give them flaws and backgrounds, something to make them seem human to the readers.
I was young, gosh, I had to be – fifteen – yeah – about fifteen. Gracious me – FIFTEEN – I didn’t know anything about what the world had to offer.
Sweet sixteen, they say, don’t they, when you get your first kiss?
No, I had my stolen from me at twenty-eight and it was the worst experience ever.  I’m filing that under memories I wish I could erase, clean my whiteboard from all the smudges that horrid recollection drudges up, every time I re-loop the memory. I’m such a broken record.

I find, though, that stereotypes in writing can sometimes be useful. It simply depends on how skilled the author in question is, in using them – much like all other tools in the library of tools at the disposal of an author.

However, a stereotype of real life is another discussion all together.
Some stereotypes can have negative continuations.
I wanted to be a particular sort of stereotype – I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mother.
It was the dream. I didn’t care what anyone ever said, it was my dream.
It is a dream that is gradually fading away. Is it my fault? Perhaps. Sometimes I think it is.

I am an author, an illustrator – and I fear I have become a stereotype of that – I live at home, with my parents. I am a lover of pop-culture, a collector of stuff, (or junk, as my family would say) and I even have a cat, who I’m a little bit…ah…overly fond of. I mean, if she dropped dead, yeah, I’d be sad, but I’d just get another one. But she is my companion. I do love her, but she’s just a pet. I just happen to not have…many people to talk to…so…I talk to a cat.
It’s weird.
And so, I am weird.

And I am ashamed of this.
Yet I cannot change who I am. I like who I am. I love this young woman I have become.
I adore the enjoyment I get out of simple things. How I light up at entertainment, and can see the beauty in art that people often scoff at, how the stories in anime utterly delight and enthral me, and I can get lost in their worlds for days thinking on their deep, deep topics. I might not manage large crowds of people, and I’m awful in big groups, but get me started on a topic I love, or world politics, or the creation of the universe, or the beauty in this world, and I could talk for hours.
Sure, I am weird – but I am weirdly wonderful.

A part of me truly hopes that someday I will be that mother, but if that dream never comes to pass, then I am already living a wonderful dream.
I am a fantasy author – with a cat.
I’m going to write, and keep writing, until all my stories are told.

Trying to Inspire Hope

So recently I have been struggling with a lack of motivation to continue writing.
It isn’t so much that I don’t want to write, or to create – it’s just that I haven’t been getting much ‘joy’ out of it lately. It has become a real slog to get through. The imagination hasn’t been flowing.

I’ve been asking those questions, “Why? Why do I do this…?” – “Do people even care for my story?” – “What is the point of all this work?”
Those questions have been circling my mind over and over.

And I’ve been trying to remember the childlike innocence and wonder in which I first went into writing with. The obsession, the excitement and the passion that fuelled me and the late nights I would spend writing. To do so, I have tried to remember…
I’ve tried to remember what inspired me to write this long epic.

When I was a little girl I had a dream:
I stood upon the verge of a bottomless canyon. Pieces of earth would collapse into the abyss from the rumbling ground, and I had to kept trying to steady myself. Not just against the shaking earth, but the roaring of an intense wind ripping across the land behind me. The side I stood upon was green and lush, blanketed by a forest and mountains rising up yonder. Across the yawning canyon, as wide as several streets, a golden ocean of sand awaited me. The sun was just cresting the horizon, sparkling on the dunes. I recall that standing on either side of me were two young men, and yet I had no idea who they were, for I had never met them, but I woke relieved by their presence and in such awe of my dream that I wrote it down in my journal.
It was this dream that eventually led me to the creation of the world of Livila, the Borders that divided the Lands. What I was seeing became Border between Pennadot and Utillia. The two young men being Zinkx and Daniel. Their appearances haven’t really changed from when I saw them in that dream.

Chronicles of the Children is an epic about good vs. evil.
About being broken to the point that all hope is lost, finding yourself so entirely defeated that you desperately desire to give up, and yet, you don’t.
You just keep trying.
Because you don’t know how to do anything else but try.

As I’ve been staring at the blank pages in front of me while attempting to write Book 3, I’ve thought about the character of Sam and just what it is that he experiences in Book 3 and I think I better understand — going through my own despair — the motivation Book 3 has been lacking. I’d forgotten about what the book is supposed to represent in the series.
It’s a book about being broken.
So badly broken.
But picking up the pieces regardless, and still moving forward.
Every word I write should reflect that.

I think, if I continue to remember that…
I’ll get back on track.

 

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.

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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