Turning 30

Today I am thirty.
There is so much I wish to tell fifteen-year-old me.
Things like – you won’t make it. It’s all a lie. Your dreams are just a shattered mirror on the floor. Don’t fool yourself sweetie, aim for something smaller, easier.
Don’t be stupid.
Don’t be an idiot.

Hah, hah – that marriage thing.
Well, guess what kiddo, you’re going to be thirty and pretty much the embodiment of Rapunzel stuck in a Tower.

I don’t feel like I have really “achieved” anything in my twenties. I feel like I am a burden on my parents. I feel like I am a waste of resources to the world. I feel aimless, plotless, useless.
And yet, for the past few months I have been asking myself “What?”
“What, just WHAT am I supposed to BE doing?”
There is NOTHING to do.
My Dad said to me the other day while I was in one of my moods. “Without a career, husband or kids, what is a woman to do?”
I answered, “Nothing, we do utterly nothing.”

(Dear feminists, don’t take this as a challenge or anything, this was a hypothetical question that my Dad and I were discussing, we do this often. Please don’t shoot me with fiery darts from hell.)


So then, I remembered something my Dad also told me quite often, “No one ever really achieves anything in life. We all live mundane lives in a mundane world. We live, we die.”
He wasn’t meaning it to be discouraging, on the contrary, he was meaning it to be uplifting – and it is – in a manner of speaking. Life is made up of the nothingness – like the universe is formed of dark matter, or some mumbo, jumbo like that.
It is the mundane moments that gradually fold together, the little moments, those precious little moments, that become the long string that is LIFE. The repetitive motions you do every day – waking up, eating breakfast, going to work, smiling at people in the street, talking to family, not talking to family, going for walks, watching tele. It all gradually forms a mosaic. It’s the coloured pieces of that mosaic that eventually clustered together to become something meaningful.

Often we think of life as the HUGE big moments.
Marriages, and holidays, Christmases and buying houses – the big things that tend to be events.
But it’s the bits in-between those big events that truly craft us into the people we are.

I still have utterly no idea where I am going in life.
I have no idea what direction I am supposed to be taking.
I feel like a lost girl, struggling to find her way in the woods, stumbling over broken branches. I don’t know the way forward into whatever terrifying darkness that is ahead – that future before me – I am so scared, I am so afraid of what unknown lies before me.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t even feel like I have a lantern to direct me.

But I’m just going to keep stumbling forward.
Keep trusting that somewhere, somehow, I’ll find my way home.
That the nothingness will turn into somethingness. That the moments I’ve gathered into a mosaic have already formed a beautiful piece of art.

I have incredible parents, amazing siblings – a family that is supportive and loving – I’ve travelled abit, I’ve got friends across the world thanks to the internet, I’ve had adventures I never thought possible thanks to my Books.
I am so grateful to the community that has gathered around my stories, to the fans and friends I have found in my journey to become an author.
I have a house – a house I love – a house I look forward to someday making into a home with a husband and kids.

I still have dreams, hopes, and a future ahead.

I mean.

I’m only 30.

So, fifteen-year-old Kylie – it’s going to be okay. You’re in a bad place. You’re in a really, really bad place right now, but, you’re going to survive. Things get better. You pull through. You make 30. I know you don’t think that’s possible – but congratulations, we did it! WE DID IT!

Perhaps, don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t think you’re fat when you’re obviously not. Wear that pretty brown dress like you’re a queen, cause, girl, you’re only going to be size 12 for like, three years. Flaunt it.
Don’t listen to women who tell you that you have ‘so much time,’ because, apparently we don’t.
Also, that whole there is ‘a lot of fish in the sea’ – yeah – about that…
The headaches are going to get worse before they get better, but, GOOD NEWS, they get better, you can look forward to that.

Finally, sweetie, don’t take life so seriously.
Enjoy yourself.


Really, really, enjoy yourself. Live.
Watch your anime. Dance to your songs. Write your stories. Play games.
Someday you’re going to be a thirty-year-old woman who is a little bit more cynical about everything.  

Grey Skies & Yellow Fields

There is something wonderful about stopping and taking a moment to breathe the fresh air of the country. To hear the birds chirping in the high branches. There is a peacefulness here that is precious and trusting. Every so often you hear a distant car rumbling along the single main street, or a child on the school oval, shouting victory at a goal, but otherwise it is the leaves dancing in the wind that sing a clean melody. 

There is a soft, cold chill on my cheeks. A freeze that is gradually encasing the land. It runs up my legs through my tights as evening creeps ever closer. A stillness falls. The twilight hour tinges the sky mauve. How do you describe the tranquillity of being under the shadow of a mountain as protective and cloistering as the great Mt. Remarkable. It is a guardian to the small town that hugs it’s skirts. I wonder of the tales the mountain could tell us, if it could whisper them on the wind, of the lives that have come and gone under it’s shelter.  Of the hardships the first settlers faced, battling against a foreign land, carving their mark for future generations. South Australia is young, Australia itself is an infant compared to the elders that surround it, but the lives of those European pioneers were harsh. The land threw every torment it could upon them, and yet they prevailed to give us the South Australia we have today. Why, I have to ask, is it that I must seek the legends of their times myself, when their tales are still so young?   

As I turn from my walk, heading back the way I’d come, to seek out the warmth of the hearth waiting for me, I pause and stare out across the green pastures, and yonder them, to the bright yellow canola fields. The mauve tint of the sunset has turned, and grey clouds is what remains, but it is still a startling beautiful contrast against the green and yellow of the meadows. I wonder what the settlers of yesteryear would think of us now. Would they be disappointed in their children, or glad of what we have made here in the land they toiled upon? 

From my Journal – 24/8/2017


This past week my sister (Melissa) and I went to Melrose. It was a trip to partly get away from the hustle and bustle of life, but to also do some research for a book I am currently working on that is set in the District around Melrose and within Melrose itself.
While I grew up in Whyalla, and we stayed in Melrose a few times while I was a kid, I didn’t have the clearest memories of the area so it was wonderful to have a chance to return.

And it was beautiful. So beautiful. What a glorious time of the year to visit the Flinders. The canola fields are in bloom, the wattle blossoms are in bloom, and everything is green from rain. Melrose also boasts some gorgeously large gum trees.


I didn’t get the chance to do any hiking — I didn’t want to do the 13km hike up Mt. Remarkable on my own without a workable phone. Also, apparently, it’s super steep, and my knees are still bad, so everyone told me not to do it. BUT. I just really like conquering mountains. I really need a hiking/camping budding! However, even though I didn’t do any hiking, I wasn’t really there for that. I was there to spend time with my sister, to get away from Adelaide, and learn about Melrose. I felt those things were achieved.


Mel and I stayed at a utterly beautiful place called Bluey Blundstone Accommodation – it was once the old Blacksmith Shop of Melrose, and the owners have been gradually renovating and restoring it. I cannot recommend it enough, it’s amazing what they’ve done. Every night we sat by a little open fire, sometimes chatting, sometimes just quiet while I wrote. It was beautiful, peaceful and away…away from everything
My phone didn’t even work! What luck! ^_^ I was really away from everything. (Though it was a good thing my sister’s phone worked, we’d have been a bit lost without Google.)



There is one memory I have very clearly of Melrose from when I was a child and that is the Swing Bridge. I recall this bridge being really, really awesome in my mind. The coolest thing EVER. I remember running across on it, being totally awed by it, freaked out by it, thinking it was HUGE.

I told Mel about it, saying how amazing it was, that we had to go and see it…
Well, my memory was shattered into reality.

Yeah, nah, it’s actually tiny and not that awesome. (Don’t get me wrong, childhood memory me still thinks its amazing!!)
I think Mel thought it was all pretty hilarious. But I am pretty hilarious. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what’s the point, right?

I am very grateful to have such a wonderful sister to go on adventures with. Who is immensely understanding of my physical condition and illness, and who puts up with me being a pop-culture nerd. It’s great to be able to make the most of the moments we are given. Times change, slowly, rapidly, who knows…but they do change. It’s nice to have memories to treasure forever.



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.


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.


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… 😀


Trench Ealdo Comic Page 01_01_WORDS

Trench Ealdo Comic Page 05_05_WORDS

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.