August Update


Twenty-Seven days to go everyone! I’m so excited that this is almost out in the world. It was a hell of a book to write and I can’t wait for you to go on this next adventure of Penelope and Alexis. If you are into pre-ordering, don’t forget you can grab it from where ever they sell books. The hardcopies are going to be especially beautiful, I saw the proofs and I got all giddy over them – and I’m not someone who collects hard covers.

This past month has been crazy with the epic re-write/ structural edit of ‘The Cry of the Firebird’ (the above is some old and new inspiration for this series). If you are on my Insta, you would have seen me having a few moments of freak out over it. I tell you, trying to edit and restructure a book that you first wrote 12 years ago is quite the task…as in kind of a nightmare. It was good in a way because I saw how far I’ve come as a writer and could use all of that knowledge to bang it into a satisfying story shape. I was surprised how much I still love this weird story – and guys, it really is a weird one. Monsters and gods and mythological creatures galore.

A few of my older readers have messaged me having a bit of a stress moment on how I could be changing this book/series after it had already been indie released – I want to assure you that nothing of the original story is changing, I’m just ensuring that its executed in a better way. All your fave characters and monsters will be there. It’s just cleaned up. As a writer, I am hyper aware of releasing something like Magicians, which is my newest and the BEST of me, and then releasing older catalogue after it. The main purpose of these rewrites isn’t to ‘change’ the story but to pull it up to a standard I am personally happy with. It’s nothing like Magicians, but I am intent on producing the BEST possible version of these books. Also, I’m taking into consideration that the spin off books 4 & 5 have been written in the past two years and I want the tone of the books to be consistent and at their current state they aren’t. They will be though. The first new draft of ‘Cry’ has already gone back to my structural editing team to get their feedback and see what they think, and I’m really happy with how it came together. SO much of the changes is to deepen the characters and their backstory, to add some personal scenes back in that had been cut…and so there will be something new for older readers to enjoy too.

In other ‘Amy’ news, I have quit my day job. If the above editing job has taught me anything, it’s that I’m getting to the point that working a full time day job and trying to build a full time writing career is no longer viable. It turns out, even I have limits. I hate to admit it, but it’s true. I will look at taking some short work contracts in the future if I feel like I need to, but I’m going to try and find a way to work smarter and not harder, to ensure cash flow and not lose my mind by working myself to burn out. COVID has fucked me a bit this year, like everyone, and being locked up since March has used what is left of my emotional storage bank. Something had to go – the day job was it.

What have you guys been reading? I am hanging out for ‘Piranesi’ by Susanna Clarke, that’s due to launch in September as well. She’s a fave author of mine, and it’s been a long time since ‘ Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’ so I can’t wait to see what her magical mind creates this time around.

ALSO, because you know I love my indie romance, Nikki Kardnov is gearing up to release her next sexy Blackwell Djinn novel ‘That Forbidden Life’ is due to come out TOMORROW. I have been dying for Mads Blackwell’s book and I’m trying to clear my writing schedule a bit so I dive head first into it. I really can’t recommend this series enough, it’s such a cool take on Djinn and they are sexy as hell.

Nikki is also doing this really fun Greek Myth series at the moment, called’Games of the Gods‘ that I also recommend, if you are like me and NEED Greek myth retellings in their life.

Speaking of Greek Myth, another series I’m recommending is Alessa Thorn’s ‘The Court of the Underworld‘ series.This is a paranormal romance series that follows Hades (my boyfriend), as he and his Court run a new city called Styx in modern day Greece. It’s not just romance, it has loads of action and kick ass female characters and is all about the ‘villains’ getting their HEA (bonus – its in Kindle Unlimited). What’s not to love about that? ASTERION is book one, and you guessed it, is a re-telling of the Minotaur myth, AND it’s on sale at the moment for only $0.99…so TRY it here.

This blog is getting a bit out of control, but I want to update people wanting to know what’s happening with my new series ‘Tarot Kings.’ I submitted a short story of about 5k words to a 1001 Dark Nights comp recently, and while they didn’t ultimately pick it up I’m still thinking of releasing it later in the year. I’m going to make it a bit longer, because I can, and it would be a great way to have a teaser into this new, sexy, complex world. It would be like a 0.5 King of Swords, as the events in it happen a year before the events of book 1 and have the main characters having an encounter. What do you think? Would you be into that? I’m still mulling over it, because I would want to ensure that you wouldn’t have tooooo long to wait before the release of ‘King of Swords.’ Watch this space!

I hope you are all keeping well and safe and reading lots of good things that make you happy,

Ames x

 

The Sea of the Dead Cover Reveal!

Loook at all of this beauty! Yes, that is a thunder storm over the Dead Sea in Israel and it is magnificent. I’m so proud of this book and I can’t wait for you all to read it! I’ll put the full description below BUT I wanted to list Five Things you can expect to see in the next installment of ‘The Magicians of Venice’ :
🌙 More background, stories and shenanigans about the Magicians (Zo’s previous life! Phaidros & Aelia try ‘playing nice’! Alexis and that One Time He Screamed in Existential Dread Naked in the Desert!)
🌙The Dead Sea Scrolls & morally dodgy obsessed academics.
🌙 Magicians Go Abroad & have Adventures.
🌙Unexpected Sea Monsters.
🌙Marco Dandolo & Lyca – The Team Up You Never Knew You Needed.
Here’s a full description but ❗️WARNING ❗️it does contain spoilers for Book 1:

The battle for Venice might be over, but the war is just beginning… Penelope’s and Alexis’s adventure continues in the second installment of The Magicians of Venice series. 

Penelope has accepted her role as the new Archivist for the magicians, but with war brewing with the priests of Thevetat and the tide of magic on the rise, she’s going to have to learn her way around her new and dangerous world if she has any hope of outsmarting their enemies.
When Penelope’s friend and fellow archaeologist, Tim, uncovers a scroll containing a magical secret lost in the Dead Sea for two thousand years, Penelope and Alexis must travel to Israel to find him before Abaddon and Kreios get there first.
To defeat Thevetat and his followers, they’ll need to find a weapon capable of ending him for good, and as her old life collides with her new, Penelope will pay the ultimate price to keep the secrets of the magicians safe.
🌙You can request an ARC here on NetGalley:
🌙Pre-order it here: (link in the bio)
BHC Press site: https://bit.ly/2Tn207S (This site has links to all the other sellers so check it out!)
🌙Add it to your Goodreads:  https://bit.ly/3bPKkZ2

I’m going to some more ‘The Sea of the Dead’ themed blogs between now and September and they will be as spoiler free as possible!

I hope you are all well and safe,

Ames x

February Update a.k.a. Atlantis is my Kink

Hey Everyone! I’m back!

If you saw my social media posts (fyi I tend to only hang about Instagram these days) you would’ve seen I went on a much needed social media hiatus and went full Hermit mode. The constant bad news stream was messing with my word count and anxiety too much so I had a big break to get my head back on straight. While away I had a big ‘Atlantis’ binge. You would think I would’ve had enough after writing 300 k words of ‘The Magicians of Venice’ series, but no, Atlantis is still one of my fave kinks. Also, because I was writing so much of my own interpretations of Atlantis I kind of forced myself to steer clear of any other Atlantis media as much as possible. So here is a round up of my fave Atlantis stuff from the binge-fest.

Okay so it’s no secret that I love Disney’s ‘Atlantis’ movie…so much so I went to buy it on Blu Ray only to discover THERE IS A SECOND MOVIE. I was shook that I had no idea of it’s existence! And its so freaking good. It has relics, sass, a freaking Kraken, Odin and lost cities. I loved it and watched these back to back more than once. And will again because Milo is just so nerd hot and its got everything I love.

I finally started watching BBC’s ATLANTIS, which is a really cool take on famous Greek myths like Herakles, the Minotaur, Medusa etc. I am almost finished season 1 and have season 2 lined up because its so much fun, the same way MERLIN was so hilarious and full of really good looking dudes. I love Greek myth retellings so highly recommend.

I watched ‘Aquaman’ again and still really enjoyed it despite the ‘Atlantis still being under the ocean’ trope isn’t my fave in the Atlantis tropes. I love the DC universe and Jason Momoa is just perfection and brought something extra to the character of Arthur. I’m not fussed on Amber Heard but its still a fun movie and love the idea of lost Atlanteans colonies in other parts of the world.

Moving into books, my absolute fan Atlantean myth retelling is without a doubt, Stephen Lawhead’s Taliesin. It’s book one of his Pendragon Cycle (my fave Arthurian myth books) and the first half is about Charis, a princess of Atlantis, it’s destruction and her being a refugee to Britain. Stephen Lawhead is next level with his Celtic Historical fiction and his take on Atlantis will always be my favourite. I got onto this series when I was 14 and very angry at the world and it pretty much inspired me to stop fucking about and get serious about writing fantasy. I could literally talk about this series forever so I’m going to stop here, but you’ll never regret picking up a Lawhead book.

I’m a sucker for indie romance and I love Domino Taylor (loved ‘Daughter of Fortune Series’), so when Amazon threw ‘Return to Atlantis’ at me I had to give it a shot. It follows the ‘Underwater Kingdom of Atlantis’ trope but also tied in alot of cool fantasy stuff like mermaids and shark riding and underwater battles. It has romance streak in it but it isn’t dominant, it really follows the main female character Kai and her journey so its more a fantasy with romance as opposed to romance fantasy. There is another book out so mind the cliff if you decide to pick it up. You can check it out here.

The next book on my to read list has been on it FOREVER is ‘Atlantis’ by David Gibbins. For obvious reasons, I’ve held off on reading a book about an archaeologist who is looking for remnants of Atlantis. Now that I have a draft of ‘The King’s Seal’ that I’m really happy with, I finally feel comfortable giving this one a go. I’ve been a bit reluctant too because of the male archaeologist/ historian/adventurer and ladies man trope isn’t my favorite (apart from Indie because INDIE PUNCHES NAZIS) … I’m willing to give it a go though because I haven’t read David Gibbins, and maybe I’m in for a pleasant surprise and not a cringe fest on how the main character describes and treats smart women in the story.

So that’s my Atlantis media round up. 

In other news I am busy trying to get my head in gear and write something that’s not ‘The Magicians of Venice’ but I haven’t settled on a project as yet. I have a lot of fun ideas and a few that scare the shit out of me, which is pretty usual for me. Also, I know that I’ll start receiving final edits and galley proofs of ‘The Sea of the Dead’ book 2 of ‘The Magicians of Venice’ that I’ll need 110% brain power for. I can’t WAIT to share this book with you. It was such a next level book for me in all areas of research, plotting, character development etc. It tried to kill me and I love it because of it. I really love Atlantis and magic and Venice, and I’m so proud of how the series has come together. I’m still getting people messaging me about how much they enjoyed ‘The Immortal City’ and this sparks endless fucking joy for me because I know how much it ramps up from there. You can read more about ‘The Immortal City’ here, and if you are reading it and enjoying please leave a review, as they help other readers find my books.

Cheers

Ames x

 

 

Oh hell, it’s December

Hey Everyone!

I can’t believe it’s December already…honestly, it’s been kind of freaking me out. If you’re on my social media you would’ve seen I’ve been in Venice recently and also the reasons why I haven’t done a blog in while are as follows:

Since September 1st, I have:

* Delivered the final version of ‘The Sea of the Dead’ to my publishers (book 2 of Magicians of Venice)
* Finished the first draft of ‘The King’s Seal’ (book 3 of Magicians of Venice)
* Launched ‘The Immortal City’
* Finished 2 short romance books of secret project (about 55k words each)
* Line edited all 8 books of ‘The Firebird Fairytales Universe’ (the 6 that were already out and 2 never released books)

That’s….a lot. I’m not having a brag, I’ve been having a burn out, and the blog is always the first thing to drop off when shit gets hectic. I didn’t expect the end of my year to be this crazy but the writers life/ publishing in general can be nuts at the best of times. Expect announcements and all sorts of good stuff coming in the New Year.

The other good news is…Venice was amazing and I feel so blessed to have had a chance to go back. I spent a lot of time walking and writing and editing the first draft of ‘The King’s Seal.’ I can say this with all honesty, it is the best book I’ve ever written. Maybe because I’ve gone through and edited my whole back catalogue recently (and I wrote ‘Cry of the Firebird’ ten years ago – yikes), but I have had an opportunity to look how much I’ve grown as a writer and see my style change and evolve. I’m always going to strive to be a better writer, but I’m so happy with how ‘The King’s Seal’ has turned out. It was also the most research heavy book I’ve ever written so it was a challenging beast that tried to kill me more than once, but I love the hell out of it.

I wrote the Prologue for it when I was in Venice last year, and I wrote the Epilogue there this year… It was a ridiculously beautiful day so I sat outside the lovely Palazzo Stern, there was Spritz and ALL the tears because I’m soppy and romantic like that. Penelope and Alexis have been such a huge part of my life in the past few years, and while I never say never when it comes to closing off a world, for now their story has ended. I’ve got the worst writer hang over, and I’m weirdly emotional but as I said, really proud of how it all pulled together. While I don’t have an actual date yet for book two, ‘Sea of the Dead,’ I know it will be sometime Autumn next year. I’m so excited for you all to read it! Okay..time for some beautiful Venice pics (I found the Banksy! And a library that I’d like to just live in all the time)

So what else has been happening? I’ve read some great books recently…

On my holidays I read ‘The Starless Sea’ by Erin Morgenstern. I’ve been a huge fan of Erin’s for ages so this was one was my most anticipated reads of 2019. It’s a tricksy, winding, beautiful fairy tale that I immediately started a re-read of because like many of my fave books (looking at you, ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’) the second reading is all joy as you pick up on all the clues. I loved it..it made me buy solar power bee lights for my office because I’m like that.

The other series that has been super good for my tired writer brain is Nikki Kardnov’s ‘Blackwell Djinn’ series. I’m super obsessed and I love the world building and the new take on the djinn. I could fan girl the shit out of this series for ages but go and check them out here!

 

My current read is ‘Call Down the Hawk’ by the amazing Maggie Steifvater and its making me have ALL of the feels. She’s one of my fave writers especially the way she writes magic just makes me ache in my heart.

 

Before I go, ‘The Immortal City’ paper back and hardback are on an awesome 15 % off Holiday promo between now through to the 31st of December at the BHC online store! It would make an awesome stocking stuffer and will be an excellent escapism read for when your family is driving you insane 😛  Check it out here!

That’s all for me for now, I hope you have an awesome and safe holiday!

Ames xo

The Immortal City is HERE

The time is now! ‘The Immortal City’ is out in the world at last! I’ve talked about it a lot in vague terms and descriptions the past few months to avoid spoilers but no more. Over the next few blogs I’m going to be talking about the main players in ‘The Immortal City’; and today I’m starting with the Big Two: Penelope and Alexis. Don’t worry I’m still going to make these as spoiler free as possible, while giving you a bit of insight into who they are and how they wandered into my brain and developed into the characters you’ll meet.

Penelope Bryne started as a panic attack.

I had been thinking about writing an Atlantis book for a while, and having a female archaeologist as my protagonist, and I’d been working for universities / academia and had an insight into the daily struggles, but didn’t have a feel for her just yet. Then life got in the way.

I’m not a sharer, but I’m comfortable enough to say I was not in a good place anxiety wise in early 2017. My work place wasn’t a healthy one so I knew that it needed to change, and I was locked into a contract until May and thought I could keep it together and wait it out. In April, I started having public panic attacks. In restaurants that were too crowded, on the train going home from work etc and then as I sat holding in tears in the bathroom of a strangers house, at a party I’d been convinced to go to…there was Penelope. Anxiety filled and in the darkest place, feeling like a failure and unable to even control her own mind and body.

I started writing her, and I felt like if I could write a character and how she dealt with her anxiety, maybe I could figure out my own. Pen was doing yoga and meditation, so I got back into it and man, has it helped on so many levels. I’m not saying Penelope is a reflection of me, or that her triggers are the same, but writing her struggles as I went through my own was therapeutic. It still is. I wanted a character who had the panic attacks and anxiety, but still got up and did what she had to and manage it as best as she could. I wasn’t thinking of an audience at the time I planned and wrote ‘The Immortal City,’ I was thinking how as a reader I don’t see people with anxiety being the heroes. Yeah, sure, there are some that I’ve found where the character has anxiety, but it tends to mysteriously get cured pretty early on when they find the right man/place they belong/  the ‘source’ of their anxiety like magical interference. I’m going to tell you right now – Penelope’s anxiety doesn’t go away through the whole series because you don’t get cured of that shit, you only learn to manage it.

Penelope has an impossible dream– to find the historical Atlantis. This dream has shaped her life in all aspects as a daughter, an academic and as a woman. It’s impacted her relationships and drives her waking moments. I wanted a character to get a glimpse of achieving that dream and having it taken away, her hard work and research panned and her grant money gone. I work in a creative industry so I know a little bit about having the impossible dream, especially when it gets trodden on. I was also working closely with academics and seeing firsthand how they spend so much of their professional life trying to get grants, publish articles and get recognition for the work that they do and have the means to continue it. I’ve seen people burst into tears when they’ve been denied grant funding because it means they have to leave their research and go back to teach in order to pay the bills. I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with teaching or it’s a lesser vocation because it’s not, but I wanted to share this side of academia because you never see Lara Croft or Robert Langdon being forced to say no to an adventure because they don’t have the cash or means of obtaining it.

Penelope is absolutely the kind of person obsessed with her dream enough to leave her holiday to go to Venice because something pertaining to her research has turned up at a crime scene. While I don’t like to inflict talk of ‘themes’ onto readers, obsession in all its forms plays a big part in the Magicians of Venice series, and nearly every single character in is obsessed with something.

Okay, I don’t think I can say tooooo much more about Pen without giving out spoilers apart from adding she’s an Aussie and an only child. For a bit of fun, I’ve created a yoga flow for her that you can find below. It’s not intensive, as she uses yoga to calm down, and I’ve enjoyed putting this one together for anyone who’s interested. FYI – I’m not a yoga teacher, this is for fun, please practice safely.

Penelope’s ‘Calm the Fk Down’ Yoga Flow

  • Childs Pose
  • Plank
  • Forward Fold
  • Sun salutation
  • Mountain Pose
  • Warrior 1
  • Down Dog
  • Childs Pose

(ten rounds, 3 breaths for each move)

Alexis Donato started as a dream.

Before I had Penelope, I had Alexis. Penelope made me work to see her character and her motivations clearly, Alexis was a god damn freight train of ‘Here I am. Try to understand me at your peril. No, I’m not changing because you want me gentler, or easier, or less complicated.’ Alexis turned up in a dream, in fact a bunch of dreams. And yes, I know how lame this sounds, and yes, just because I had a cool dream doesn’t mean it makes a cool story. Dreams can be pretty bullshit but bullshit fertilises (as the saying goes).

Dream 1, came about as all of the Atlantis and research primordial ooze was percolating in my brain. In the dream I knew I was someone else. I wasn’t *me* but I was in Venice at night and someone stepped from the shadows and stabbed me as I was admiring the view from a bridge. I toppled into a canal and when I came to I was in a stranger’s house and that stranger was Alexis, who told me he was a magician from Atlantis. For those who’ve read ‘The Immortal City’ this scene may seem familiar although not in this form. It’s because I couldn’t leave this moment out of it.  Alexis had arrived and I woke up thinking I really shouldn’t eat so much before bed, but this character refused to go away. The following week I had about three different dreams including having coffee with him in the San Marco piazza. The bastard wouldn’t leave me alone and I knew in my bones I had one of my main characters. The weird thing was, once I had Alexis, every bit of random research I had scattered through notebooks all clicked into place. He was the keystone, the spider in the web, and the plot connected in the most surprisingly creepy way. Writing this series has been like that from day 1 and even now I’m in my third book things keep connecting randomly.

Alexis is a great character and one of the most fun I’ve ever gotten to write. I love writing about magicians and magic in general, so building the myth of Atlantis up around Alexis and the other magicians was such a blast. His duty has been to protect the other magicians and prevent mankind from learning the truth about Atlantis, so you can imagine him butting heads with Penelope who’s determined to discover the truth. He’s a general, a big brother, a son and he does his best to keep the other magicians in line. I really loved being able to use him as my storyteller, and crafting mini stories and memories was a way I could go to Atlantis without losing the book completely to full fantasy territory. Alexis has lived a LONG time, and there’s so much room as a writer to play with and use to develop layers and motivations.

I recently saw a reviewer describe Alexis as ‘part romance, part violence’ and its pretty spot on. He’s a scholar and a warrior. He doesn’t always play well with others but he’s loyal and fierce and damn charming when he wants to be. I’m shamelessly in love with Alexis. I’ve also created him a yoga flow because the poor guy has a lot on his hands.

Alexis’s ‘I’m Trying not to Murder these Magicians’ Yoga Flow

  • Mountain
  • Forward Fold
  • Plank
  • Upward Dog
  • Downward Dog
  • Warrior 2
  • Reverse Warrior
  • Crescent pose
  • Mountain

(seven rounds, three breaths per pose)

Developing Penelope and Alexis was night and day by way of process, but I love them both like crazy. They’ve really pushed me as a writer and have helped me through the last few years of anxiety and growth.

For those of us who are visual people, I really encourage you to check out ‘The Magicians of Venice’ Pintrest Board, its massive and gives you a good vibe of the series. Also, if you really want to know, Jade Taylor is probably the closest I’ve come to imaging Penelope in my head, and the model Maximiliano Patane for Alexis 😉

I hope you love them as much as I do! Grab your copy here and don’t forget to leave me a review 🙂

Ames x

July Update and Big Changes

Argh! 1 month and 26 days until ‘The Immortal City’ release! I thought I’d be less excited by now but the opposite is proving true – I AM PUMPED. I can’t wait until this baby is out in the world. It will be my first release with a traditional publishing house so I feel like everything is new and strange again – but in a really good way with supportive people around me. Speaking of support Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has left reviews on NetGalley (omg you guys it’s hit 95 reviews) and any other blog/social media platform etc. I’m sharing the ones I see on Instagram and including them in my ‘Immortal City’ highlights because bookstagramers make the BEST pics. I can’t NOT share them. Seriously, I appreciate every single one. While ARCS are now closed don’t forget you can pre-order it here.

In other news I’m just about to hit 70k words of book 3 of ‘Magicians of Venice’ I’m trying not to freak out at how far I still have to go with it or rush through it to get that pesky draft 0 done. I have the time to go slower with this one and I’m really forcing myself to take the time to enjoy the ride. This series always takes so much more from me than any other books I’ve ever written but I’m already ridiculously in love with it and crazy proud how its coming together.

Here are some pictures of the street that my Magicians live on to celebrate. There will be location videos that I’ll also be sharing once the book is out as well. I hate the sound of my voice on camera but the places are far too pretty and awesome not to share.

While I was in Venice in November I really took the time to sit back, look at my plaftform and my writing process and I vowed to slow down in 2019, to take out the things that were stressing me out and not serving me. Some of the things was focusing on writing ONLY one book this year without killing myself to hit a dead line, cleaning up my brand, doing no university units, and in general taking out the things that stress me out.

On that note, you may have noticed a few changes around my site and Amazon etc. I have taken down ‘The Eagle Key’ and both of the ‘Western Wars’ books. Why? Mostly its because they aren’t really on brand. They are epic fantasy series experiments that I put up to see if they sold okay and if they did, I’d write more in those worlds. While I did have some enthusiastic fans, they never really sold, and I don’t really feel the need to keep writing in those worlds or growing / marketing them. I’d rather focus on The Firebird Fairytales Universe and other unannounced projects. I love writing contemporary fantasy / paranormal so they are the genres I’m going to write and focus on.

Another change is I’ve taken down my paperbacks from Createspace and Ingramspark. Why? Okay there are a bunch of reasons but mainly cost. Ingramspark are about to rise their prices again and because my books are large, and they charge per page, the cost of them were $18 USD as a base sales price, which means retailers were going to have to charge about $40 (for ‘Rise of the Firebird’ my biggest) to make any profit on them. That is insane. It comes down to me being an indie and not having the distribution discounts that other publishers have. Also there has been US Tax legislation and whole swag of other changes that have come in and to be honest? I literally can’t keep up with it all. Maybe in a few months if I’m swamped with requests for paperbacks, I’ll put them back up on Createspace so at least Amazon will have them, but I’m not planning on it. I’ve never really sold paperbacks, I’ve never promoted them either, so its going to be one less stress for me to worry about. This is not even mentioning the extra costs of covers and formatting that come with producing a paperback – money I could be using to get other books out digitally. Its a bummer but at the end of the day, I’m flexible to putting them back up again if there’s a need for it.

Enough boring bummed out stuff – I went to see The Cursed Child this month and it was INSANE. I’m one of the few people that didn’t read it and have managed to avoid most of the major spoilers because I really wanted to see the show. I was NOT disappointed. I was blown away. I go to a lot of musicals and theater and this was one of the best productions I’ve ever seen. The stage effects alone were fucking insane. I’m keen to keep the secrets but omg that shit was magical and I swear I almost peed a little when a frickin damn Dementor floated out of no where. I also got to go FULL Slytherin, I’m a 100% in love with old man Draco, I ship the hell out of Scorpious and Albus, and none of that should surprise anyone. It was the best day, and I really recommend anyone who has the opportunity to go to do it.

BECAUSE I watched Cursed Child and was in the mood for magic schools and fucked up chosen ones, I finally picked up ‘Carry On’ by Rainbow Rowell. I KNOW I’m the last person to reach this and fall in love but dudes…I AM SO IN LOVE. It was so much fun. I love the reluctant kind of crap chosen one trope and just ALL of it. Baz…do I need to say it? BAZ. I’m in love. I literally felt queasy when I was finished because I havent loved a book this hard in a really long time. I pre-ordered the hell out of ‘Wayward Son’ and counting down until November to get it in my hot little hands.

I haven’t had a huge amount of reading time this month because I’ve been wrecked (mid-winter darkness kicks my ass so hard) and also been using my spare time to focus on writing and researching (Gods Below so much research) but the other two books I’m keen as hell to finish off; ‘War’ by Laura Thalassa and ‘The King’ by Jennifer Armentrout. I have been waiting about a year for both of these so I’m trying not to go full crazy and read them all at once. There are a lot of mixed feelings out there by the Horseman series of Laura’s but I personally love them and the morally grey characters and fucked up situations they find themselves in. The world building and whole vibe of the books are insanely good – she has gone next level as a writer with them and I’m ecstatic and blown away. I really could rave about it for a good long while but I won’t because spoilers. But seriously…how hot is this cover? Probably my fave hot cover of the year so far. I rave about my love for Jennifer Armentrout a lot on this blog but I seriously LOVE her ‘Wicked Trilogy’ world – fae, hunters, New Orleans – how can I not be obsessed with it? ‘The King’ is a sequel to last years ‘The Prince’ and I nearly sobbed with happiness when I saw it arrive on my Kindle this morning. It’s like one novel split – just to warn you. I can’t wait to keep reading – Brighton is a great character and a lot of fun to read.

That about wraps me up, guys, this blog has gotten sooo much longer than I expected. Assassin’s Creed has released its final DLC and I’ve FINALLY got to Atlantis. I haven’t finished it yet so I’ll save my hard core fangirling until  next time.

Ames xx

 

 

June Update

June is almost gone, and I’ve been flat out as usual. The blog unfortunately is the first thing that suffers but if I can get to it before the month is out I count it as a win.

Okay first up… ‘The Immortal City’ got a good review in Publishers Weekly this month. It’s a big deal for an writer and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. The review tally on NetGalley has passed 70 this week which continues to blow me away. The book has good energy around it and it’s keeping me on point and excited with the release (2 months, 25 days and 13 hrs to go).

It feels like every week something is happening that’s  super exciting and I’m trying hard to create a steady routine around work and writing. Its been a real learning experience this year, focusing on only completing the one book and managing the different pace. I’m really glad that I cleared everything else because book 3 has been challenging to write around everything else thats happening. I’m nudging 60k words and its growing together but it really has taken me since March to find a rhythm with it. I’m hoping to get the draft done by September so I can focus on promoting ‘The Immortal City’ without worrying about a word count. I read a really great article by Erin Morgenstern about the challenges of writing ‘The Starless Sea’ and creating a bubble to create freely in without external distractions and pressures. I’ve been feeling that pretty hard lately and so I’m focused on getting book 3 finished by September so I can have that bubble to write as honestly and clearly as I can in it. I’m giving it my everything and even in draft form, I know its the best thing I’ve written.

This month I’ve also been to see the new exhibit at the NGV here in Melbourne: Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality and Cai Guo -Qiang. It was freaking AMAZING. I knew I’d nerd out over the warriors but I was surprised how much I loved Cai Guo-Qiang pieces (made with gundpowder on silk!) so much so I ended up buying a print for my office and a warrior for my desk. Here are some photos, including me all clean and out of the writing cave.

Saturday was also the Winter Solstice here in Melbourne and I ventured out to Her Royal Majesty’s theatre and watched a production of Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” and had a blast! It’s one of my fave musicals and seeing it on stage was just incredible.

 

Apart from all that excitement, I’ve been reading some great books lately including:

Margaret Rogersons ‘Sorcery of Thorns’…okay EVERYONE has been on my case to read Margaret Rogerson and I finally cleared my TBR to jump into this one…I mean, sorcerors and sentiant libraries? I couldn’t say no to that even if I wanted to. I’m so in love with Charlie Bowater that I couldn’t resist that cover either. I really enjoyed this one, it was the perfect feel good read for my scattered burned out writer brain. And yes..I DID go and download ‘Enchantment of Ravens’ onto my Kindle straight after. They are charming, warm fuzzy reads that I know I’ll return to for whenever I need a comfort read. I’m hopelessly in love with Thorn but I’m only human. 

I’m also consuming all of Jennifer Armentrouts ‘Dark Elements’ series. Despite it being more YA than I’m really into, there’s enough going on out side of the school yard to keep me interested. The world building alone is so freaking good and as a 90’s kid who was obsessed with the animated ‘Gargoyles’ series you can pretty much put anything with a gargoyle in front of me and I’ll read it. Armentrout is usually a sure bet for me and its been perfect for a somewhat overloaded brain.

In other reads I’ve also just started ‘Djinn City’ by Saad  Z. Hossain  and have been laughing my ass off. It’s hilarous but also so clever its blowing my mind. It has, quite possibly, the BEST explanation for djinn magic I’ve ever seen. The world building, djinn society, the structure of it all, is seamless and perfect. I get so excited when I read something so good that I slow my pace right down just to appreciate it from a writer perspective as well as a reader.  I’m not done and I already am recommending it to every fantasy lover I know.

In gaming news, I’m still obsessed with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey DLC’s that they’ve been releasing. GUYS I’M IN THE UNDERWORLD. The next series I want to write is basically Greek Myth retellings and so my brain is melting everytime I get to sass Hades.  I mean….LOOK.  How  can  I  not  be  in  love.

There’s nothing else to tell except I’m now on Instagram. Twitter has never been a platform I’ve enjoyed so I’ve gone on a permanent hiatus over there and am focusing on Facebook and Instagram. I’m really enjoying the Instagram platform and it will hopefully be compatible for the videos I want to share come September of all the locations in ‘The Immortal City.’

Enjoy your June!

Ames x

 

 

 

Early May Update

Holy crap it’s May already – HOW did this happen?

There hasn’t been a proper update on this blog for a while so here I am to give you all the news. Firstly, thank you thank you thank you to everyone who blogged, liked, re-tweet or requested an ARC for ‘The Immortal City.’ The response to the cover and the book itself has been amazing and over whelming and I’m so happy and excited for my book baby. It really was a passion project from the start which goes to show you should always write the shit that sets your heart on fire because that love and enthusiasm will shine through.

I’ve kind of been underground the past few months, except to make noise about ‘The Immortal City’, because I’ve been neck deep into writing the third book in the series. Seriously its the biggest book research wise I’ve ever attempted and it’s taking me a while to write because even though I researched everything to plan it..niggling things keep coming up that’s forcing me to go back and double check or dig deeper. I love the process and I have to remember not to freak out if the word count isn’t as high as it normally would be because its going to be big and I don’t want to rush it. It’s taken me two months to write part one which was only 32k words, and I feel like I’m only just getting into my groove.

Some cool stuff thats happened in the past month not Magicians of Venice related? I went and had an afternoon with Sarah J Maas and Lynette Noni as apart of the ‘Kingdom of Ash Tour’ here in Melbourne and yes I did freak out with excitement.

Guys you know how much I love Queen Maas, and afterwards she went to the top of my ‘Writers I Most Want to Have Drinks With’ list. She was rad and funny as hell, and it was one of the best writer events I’ve ever been to. I have photos but look…they are a bit shit because of lighting. I was there as a reader but also as an author because the idea of one day being on a stage really freaks me out so I’m always interested it seeing it done well.

I’m dying to read her new Urban Fantasy that comes out in Jan 2020 ‘Crescent  City.’ I mean, LOOK at that teaser. How pretty is that? I want. Also it will be cool to see her step over from epic fantasy into urban and give it her particular touch. 

OKAY. Fangirling Over.

Well, not quite over because I’ve read some freaking AMAZING books since I last did an update and I need to share.

First of all I got a copy of ‘The Immortal’ by Krishna Udayasankar. I have huge complicated feelings about this book. Here is a short description :

Professor Bharadvaj is more than just another whisky-loving, gun-toting historian-for-hire. Behind the assumed identity of the cynical academic is a man who has walked the earth for scores of years. He is Asvatthama – the cursed immortal, the man who cannot die. When Professor Bharadvaj is approached by the enigmatic Maya Jervois to search for a historical artefact unlike any other, he is reluctant to pursue it. The object in question, the Vajra, is rumoured to possess incredible alchemical powers, but the Professor does not believe it exists. After all, he has spent many lifetimes – and identities – searching for it, in a bid to unearth the secret to his unending life.

This book has the most amazing research I’ve come across in ages. As someone who has spent the past four years reading about magicians and alchemists and history for a book series, I was really excited to 1: be getting all the references and 2: being blown away how Krishna weaves them into plot. Throughout the book the protagonist keeps reiterating that he’s not a hero and he’s really not. It’s one of the rare times I’ve read a book where a character says that and doesn’t turn around and BE a hero. Its well worth the read but it will leave you thinking and processing it for ages afterwards. I still think I need to do another re-read to fully appreciate just how good and tricksey the plot and writing was.

The next book to blow me away in the passed month is ‘Wicked Saints’ by Emily A. Duncan.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

I cannot express fully in wordage how much I love this book. A goth Slavic fantasy full of saints, monsters and magic. Holy shit. This book has everything I love. It’s about villains and anti-heroes and complicated beautiful monsters. I know its book one of a series and I can’t wait for the next installment. It’s no surprise it hit the NYT Best Sellers list because unlike my complicated love/hate relationship with Holly Black’s ‘The Folk of Air’ series (which is also about villains), Wicked Saints I connected to all of the characters and their motivations and fell in love with them and their world. 

Now this last one is not a book but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey launched their Fate of Atlantis DLC last week and I’m blown away by it. Usually I will rave for hours about AC as it is (especially Odyssey) but to give me Atlantis and the Underworld ON TOP of it all? I cannot deal. The story telling is so good I’m freaking out every time I play it. AND ITS ONLY PART ONE. Just look at how pretty it is!! Its so cool to have the Greek Gods come into play and I swear if I don’t a chance to make out with Hades when I reach the Underworld I will riot. It makes my nerdy heart so happy to see Atlantis popping up right in time for ‘The Immortal City’ because yay Atlantis is the BEST.

Okay so thats all I got for. My life is all about writing ‘The King’s Seal’ and not much else. It’s awesome.

Ames x

 

The Immortal City Cover Reveal!

In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god,

sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.

The Da Vinci Code meets Discovery of Witches in this story of murder and magic…

Welcome to The Immortal City, book 1 in the Magicians of Venice series

 The Magicians of Venice is a fresh and exciting new treasure hunt series featuring magic, mystery, and romance in an exhilarating blend of history and dark magic. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful city of Venice, fans of Indiana Jones and Robert Langdon will find a new favorite in Dr. Penelope Bryne, an anxiety-riddled academic. She’s fascinated with the city of Atlantis, much to the chagrin of her father and the academic community, and has devoted her life’s study to unlocking its secrets.

In The Immortal City, book one in the series, an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site with possible clues to the lost city of Atlantis. Determined to learn more, she agrees to help the police before the killer strikes again, and she heads to Venice in search of answers.

There she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, who challenges everything she thought she ever knew about Atlantis. As Alexis draws her into a dark and seductive world of magic and murder, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head to find the answers she seeks. With Carnivale in full swing, and time running out, Alexis and Penelope must work together to stop the killer and prevent a dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.

Look how pretty it is I am dying!!! Also that’s not even the BEST news…DIGITAL ARCS (Advanced Reader Copies) and the pre-order are also available! Whoop whoop!

Book reviewers and bloggers interested in reviewing the book may request a digital ARC of The Immortal City. ARCs are available through NetGalley and at the publisher’s website.

 

The Immortal City releases on September 19, 2019 in hardcover, trade softcover, and ebook. Preorder is currently available from select retailers.

 

 

 

Now I can finally talk about it let’s talk about the inspiration behind the Magicians of Venice Series (don’t worry there’s no spoilers):

The Magicians of Venice is a three-book series and is the culmination of many weird pieces of ancient history and personal passions finally coming together.

I’ve always loved characters like Indiana Jones and Robert Langdon, but I wanted to write a story that turned the adventurer archaeologist trope on its head. It was important to me to create a female character that is not an oversexualised, badass Lara Croft figure. My character, Penelope Bryne, is an anxiety-ridden academic refusing to give up on the impossible dream of discovering Atlantis and who continues to be brave despite her failings.

I’ve always loved the legends and theories behind Atlantis and continue to this day to follow any new discoveries that might pertain to it. I wanted to play with some of the legends and mash them up with my own ideas and love of magicians, creating a story about survivors who become close to immortal because of the powerful blast that destroyed the island kingdom.

If there was ever a place that is so impossible and beautiful and could make you believe it was founded by magicians, it’s Venice. Even though my Venice obviously has many fantasy aspects, I wanted to ensure current issues were correctly portrayed especially concerning global warming, the MOSE project, the problem with cruise ships, and the impact that tourism has on the city.

While The Immortal City (book one) is mainly a magical, murder mystery, Sea of the Dead (book two) and The King’s Seal (book three) have a treasure hunt feel. As a student of ancient history, I’ve studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, and I knew about the discovery of a new cave in 2017 and was determined to write it into my book. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the scrolls, and I wanted to play into that while incorporating my own magical twist and theories of why the Essenes vanished.

I grew up on fairy tales and mythology, and wanted to not only write about a famous relic that I’ve always been fascinated with, but also one that mainstream entertainment hasn’t plundered, so Atlantis and other relics that pop up are going to be really unique.

Sounds amazing? Yes, it’s going to be a hell of a ride and one that I’m sure many of  you will get behind, and will fall in love with these new characters as much as I have! I’m so excited!

 

 

Don’t forget to use this pre-order link, it’s set up for you to just click on the link to your fave store so you don’t need to go searching for it.

Ames x

 

 

 

 

The Immortal City Cover Reveal Day

*ANNOUNCEMENT*

The Immortal City, Book 1 of The Magicians of Venice, is going to have its official cover reveal on the 9th of April!!! Eek! Cover party hurray!

Also, if any of you are book bloggers and would love to help me out, my awesome publishers, BHC Press, are hunting people to be a part of the Cover Reveal Day. They are also using it as an early call out for ARCs if you are interested in getting a copy. The Immortal City is about a female archaeologist and a magician hunting a serial killer in Venice. Theres murder, magicians, mystery, serial killers, Venice..all the good things in life (also a full description is below). If you are keen to help and get a sexy marketing package and an early ARC click on this link:

https://www.jotform.com/form/90795915…

Full Description:

In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.

Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.

Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.

As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks.

With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.