Science Fiction Thriller RENOVO Grounded Has (Crash) Landed

Renovo_2_FinalI’m thrilled to announce that RENOVO Grounded is now here. Dr. Rachel Galliance’s story is a joy to write, even if she does like to tread in dangerous places. Sometimes I wonder how she’s even still alive; and we’re only two books into this series! Her sidekick Dendrick is up to his usual tricks, the mystery of the RENOVO’s journey is still unknown, Rachel’s quest to find Silver continues AND there are some new additions to the crew. There’s A LOT happening.

For the first three days, RENOVO Grounded is only 99c, and then on Sunday it’ll go up to its regular price of $3.99. Meanwhile, RENOVO is at 99c for the foreseeable future so you can jump into the series without paying out much. If you’d like to read the first chapter of Grounded you can do so here, on this website. Alternatively, just head across to Amazon and grab it on the US or UK site.

Thanks for all your support. I can’t wait to find out what Rachel and the RENOVO crew get up to next!

Science Fiction Series, CRYO, is Being Relaunched – See the Cover

I’m truly excited to announce that, on January 7th, the CRYO series is getting a relaunch. What does that mean? It means new artwork, new interiors, a new blurb and a new product page at Amazon. It also means an introductory price tag of only 99c.

I’ve never been truly content with the cover for CRYO: Rise of the Immortals – it’s never really suited the right genre or made a big impact. So, I got the awesome Yoly at Cormar Covers on board to help out – and boy – look what she came up with!



On launch day, CRYO will be available for 99c. What can you do to help? If you have Facebook or Twitter then please consider signing up and joining my Thunderclap. This simple tool allows you to schedule a simple tweet or Facebook post for next Friday, January 8th. On that day, all the promo is sent out, allowing our group effort to reach a far wider audience than I could on my own.

In addition, if you’d like to get your hands on Book 2 for FREE, then all you need to do is review Book 1 on it’s new page within the first three days of release. Simples! Just pop me a message with a link to your review when you’re done.

After CRYO is launched, I’m almost set to release Hybrid, a short story set in the Pacifier 6 world, in early February. Then it will be the second RENOVO installment and THEN, the third book in the CRYO series. Busy time ahead!

My Dystopian Adventure, CRYO, is on Sale for 99c

I’ve been so focused on RENOVO for the past few months that I haven’t given a lot of love to the CRYO series. There’s four books out in total; two in the series and two short stories in the same universe. So before I start writing the third instalment (which I’m due to sit down and really put effort into from January, 2016), I thought I’d pop Rise of the Immortals on sale for a while.

cryofor kindle-rev


So, if you haven’t grabbed it yet, then you can snap up CRYO: Rise of the Immortals for just 99c over the next couple of weeks.



Smashwords Summer Sale – Grab a Bargain Book


It’s that time of year again; Smashwords Summer Sale. If you’re anything like me, you tend to read a bit more in the summer. I don’t know whether it’s the idea of sheltering from the sun under a tree or going on holiday that’s conducive to reading more, but I certainly grab a lot of fun reads at this time of year. Lucky for me – Smashwords are always around with some bargains.

If you’ve never used Smashwords before, it’s an ebook site where you can purchase a huge variety of file types. Buy a book and read the PDF on your desktop, enjoy the novel in your web browser or download the .mobi file and next time you connect your Kindle, just drop the files into the appropriate folder.

The sale started yesterday (July 1st) and I’ve reduced my entire catalogue, with 50% savings across the board. With Inside Evil free, that means you can grab the entire series so far (four books) for under a fiver. The CRYO books, and my zombie novella, Pacifier 6, are also discounted. Anyway, I won’t ramble on – I have the final Inside Evil book to write after all – so feel free to follow the link below and grab some bargains during July. If you’re looking for some more science fiction and fantasy reads, there’s a load of my author friends also with their books on sale. 🙂

Happy Reading

Grab one of my books on Smashwords with a 50% discount here.

Also find discounted books by these authors:

Kate AaronThe Lost Realm Trilogy (25% off)
Patty JansenEntire catalogue of Fantasy and Science Fiction (50% off)
Vincent TrigiliLost Tales of Power (Volumes 1-3) (75% off)
Chris ReherThe Catalyst (Targen Tales 2) (50% off) – The first book, Sky Hunter, is Free.
Deirdre GouldEntire catalogue of Dystopian (50% off)
Annie BellettEntire catalogue of Speculative Fiction (50% 0ff)

CRYO: A Changed World – First Chapter

CRYO: A Changed World comes out on April 13th – TOMORROW (actually, it’s already up on Smashwords). Here’s all the details AND the FIRST CHAPTER. *note – the Amazon links may not be activated yet.

A changed world 600px

Available at: | | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords | Kobo


If you awoke to find that humankind had been annihilated, could you survive?

John’s dreams have crumbled. A global corporation, CRYO, kidnapped him, froze him and sent him to the future, only to fade into history as he slept. Now, John and his podmates are in a new and strange world that’s far from anything they’ve ever known.

With a strange creature having cut their already dwindled numbers, the fight for survival has begun. There’s already discontent amongst the small group of survivors. And, as John heads out into the unknown with a small splinter group, there’s just one question; what will he find?


New Beginnings (Chapter 1)

“Out the way,” Tone gasped as he pushed his way past where John and Anne were sitting and disappeared into the forest behind them. The small agouti that Viktor had finally managed to catch, seemed to have been left a little too long in the sun for some stomachs. They’d roasted the thing well or, as Franz had jovially put, “Burned the bugger to a crisp.” John’s iron gut had easily dealt with its first taste of real meat in decades. Others, however, including Tone, Natalia, Nathan and Viktor, hadn’t fared quite as well, and the group had no choice but to make camp for the night whilst the foursome took turns finding new patches in the jungle to soil.

“Thank God we’re okay,” John said ruefully towards Anne, not wanting to revel in others discomfort but truly happy he wasn’t in their condition. Toilet paper had always been a luxury in their post-CRYO world, but for the group of adventurers who only had a couple of rolls stashed amongst their limited cargo, there certainly wasn’t enough for Tone and the others to have a limitless supply.

Anne sighed happily at John’s side, and he looked down to where her feet hung off the side of the riverbank into the cool water beneath. It was more of a shallow stream than a river, the undulating stony bed creating pools as deep to the waist. In other areas, the slow current of water barely covered their ankles. It was crystal clear, and John watched as a small shoal of fish, each individual about the size of a finger, twisted and turned as if they were one. They’d come to Anne’s feet and nibble at her toes for a few minutes, before being caught in the current and heading upstream. But within moments they’d be back, gnawing and sucking at her skin.

“Is that safe?”

“They’re fish, John,” Anne smiled as if she was looking upon the world with new eyes. Out of all of them, it was she who truly seemed to thrive amongst this changed land. “You should try; it’s great, and quite soothing. I can feel little mouths munching on the decay of my old skin.” Her eyes grew wide and she pushed her gaze back to her feet as if she were a schoolgirl in complete awe of a new toy.

John slipped off his shoes and dropped his legs over the side of the bank, taking a relaxed breath as he felt the water cool his clammy, hot feet. The movement caused a ripple on the surface, and the shoal of fish flicked away across the stream, frightened off by this sudden new addition to their world. But soon they were back, nibbling at John’s feet too, now that they were dangling into the underwater realm. It was an odd feeling, but Anne was right; extremely relaxing.

“We’re out of wipes,” Tone said with a sense of dread as he emerged through the thick vegetation at the stream side. The shrubbery was greener and denser here than deeper in the jungle where less light penetrated. “If I ever have the urge to eat rodent again, stop me. Please.” His face was pale, tired by the lack of sleep, drawn by the effects of bad food upon his body. He sank down beside John heavily and pulled a rehydration mineral block from his pocket, tore the packaging off and nibbled cautiously on the end. “Ain’t got many of these left either,” he muttered, increasing his bite so that a small pink lump cracked into his mouth. “You know that some virus was spread back at the beginning of last century by doing that?” He nodded towards where the shoal of fish were increasingly picking at John’s pale pink toes. John quickly withdrew his feet to the surface.

“Ignore him,” Anne said as she rolled her eyes. “Tone likes to see the darkest side of this wonderful world. It’s beyond me why he ever emerged from his pod at all.” There was the hint of a grin at the corner of her mouth. “Always the pessimist, Tone,” she added without looking back.

“Realistic and aware, more like. I was right about CRYO, wasn’t I? For all the good it did us.”

John had to admit that if there was one thing Tone was right about, it was that. During John’s first night at the CRYO’s headquarters, he’d been locked into his room because of some unseen incident. Most of the cryonics candidates had been completely ignorant of what was going on, but outside John’s door, he’d heard Tone running along the corridor and heard the man crying out that the corporation was up to something. Of course, John hadn’t found out exactly what they were up to until he’d been on the brink of leaving the program, at which point he’d been drugged, cryonically frozen against his will and then awoken in his new world. The CRYO facility where they’d awoken, The Phoenix Station, was abandoned. An entire room of their pod-mates were dead; the power to their tubes having shut down, allowing then to slowly thaw and experience a horrendous death. And then Agnes, his nemesis and a power-hungry bitch, had seized complete control over the few souls left. She was the reason he’d left the facility behind and was now adventuring into the wilderness without any idea of what they’d find.

“It seems so long ago now,” John said, thinking back to when the world around him had been a bright, technologically driven one. An Earth where as long as everything was glossy, and wonderful, and clean, there was no mention of the planet’s ongoing decay and imminent death.

“It is a long time ago. God knows how long,” Tone said, picking up a stone and throwing it into the water with a plop so that the fish around Anne’s toes dashed off to the other side of the stream once again. “Whatever world we once knew is long gone.”

“You really think that?”

John looked around and saw that the harsh Russian voice came from Natalia, the youngest of the group. There was a sad look upon her face that said all he needed to know, and John got to his feet and put his hand gently on her shoulder.

“Cheer up. We don’t know anything yet, not until we’ve ventured a little farther. Though, I think it’s safe to say that whatever is waiting, it isn’t what most of us were once expecting. We’ve certainly travelled well past the fifty years we were supposed to.”

“Yeah,” she said glumly, letting her head rest against John’s side.

“God your hair grows quick.” John was looking down at the top of Natalia’s head, and he realised that the girl’s baldness had practically disappeared beneath a mop of blonde hair.

“You should see yourself,” she replied, and John put a hand to where his own head had been even more hairless than on the day he’d been born. She was right; where once his post-cryonics baldness had stripped his individuality, stubble was now thick under his fingers. The metallic plug in the back of his head where the machine cables had retracted was still there, but that was something he’d become used to now. He looked around to Tone and Anne and realised that they too were transforming from the pale, hairless pod creatures back into humans. He hadn’t known them before the freeze and John realised that he had no idea what either of them looked like with a full head of hair. He thought of Evie’s long and violently red locks, and about how she’d been almost unrecognisable when they’d slithered out of their pods. It had only been a couple of days since they’d left Phoenix Station, since they’d set out on their own, but he already missed her. How he wished she’d come with them and left the ties of Agnes behind. “There’s no future for you”. Those had been her words to him as he’d stepped into the lift and whooshed towards the surface. A last plea for him to stay. But John truly believed there was no future locked in that station either, not in the long-term.

“We ought to make a move soon,” Tone said as he lethargically hauled himself upright. “We’ve barely made it beyond the perimeter of our previous trails. If we’re really going to do this and venture into the unknown, we need to keep going.” He leant an arm to Anne as she reached out, and helped her pull away from the water leaving the fish in search of something new to nibble.

“He’s right. I want to discover more about this place. There’s something about these trees that fill my spirit. I’ve never felt so invigorated.”

“Lucky for some. I was thinking more about the limited supplies we have.”

“Pshhh,” Anne replied to Tone’s concern. “There’s more than enough in this forest to keep us alive as long as you know where to look for it. Though, perhaps agouti’s off the menu for a while.” She nudged Tone’s arm gently. “I’ll go and see if Viktor’s ready. Say, about twenty minutes?”

The group nodded to one another, and John left Natalia and Tone by the stream as he pushed his way through a thorny bush and immersed himself in the forest again. It was alive with life, far more than he’d ever imagined. He’d grown up in a place of towering skyscrapers, disinfected buildings, hydroponically grown food and the odd chirping from a carefully controlled skydome bird population. Here, amongst a completely wild forest, there was more of an abundance of life than John had ever thought possible. Above him the familiar whistling of a very distinctive bird sounded, and he looked up, scanning the canopy for signs of movement. Despite the plethora of creatures around him, everything seemed extremely well adapt at camouflage. Anne saw things everywhere; caught the fleeting whir of hummingbird wings, or noticed the rustle of something small underfoot. John was always far too late, or blind. Though he’d heard this bird on a daily basis, he had yet to spy the winged creature from which the melody came from.

“Franz, we’re on the move,” John said as he added to the cacophony of sounds around him. He stepped over a large fallen log and spied the enormous roots of the towering tree ahead against which he’d left the slumbering trio of Franz, Amity and Nathan. His friend and companion looked up from where he was slumped against the tree and sweating profusely.

“Almost ready. Help me up, would you? Nathan’s making me a staff. I won’t hold you up, don’t you worry.”

“I never said that,” John replied as he helped Franz to his feet and looked across to where Nathan had a sturdy branch in his hands. He was using a portable laser saw to strip the extra twigs, the buzzing growing intense each time it severed material from the main stem. “Where did you get that?”

“Evie smuggled it out to us,” Nathan replied without looking up from his work. “Agnes was stockpiling anything she deemed a weapon. There were a few of these in the lab next to the biodome and Evie doctored the stock inventory. She got us all sorts.”

“I’ll say,” Franz said secretively, reminding John of the fact that she’d also secretively passed Franz some digitally integrated contact lenses to prevent him stumbling around like a blind idiot. John looked back to Nathan and saw the tool glide straight through one of the thicker side-shoots on the branch. The saw looked like a hacksaw, though where the serrated edge of a blade should be there was a thin red line instead. It made easy work of the branch, as if Nathan was slicing butter with a warm knife, and within moments he passed the staff across to Franz. Franz tested it carefully, leaning his weight against it and taking a few paces. Seemingly happy that the branch wasn’t going to bend and snap under his bulk, he smiled thankfully and reached down to hoist a rucksack onto his back.

“Oh no, you don’t,” a soft French voice spoke from behind the tree. Amity appeared with a stern look upon her face and Franz immediately uncurled his fingers from the pack’s handle as if he were a guilty schoolchild caught by the headmistress. “You ‘ave to take more care, Franz,” she said as she scrambled over a root towards him. “If you pull those stitches out, the skin grid complex will not stay in place.”

“You think I don’t know that?” Franz replied. “I just want to be helpful. Don’t forget, I worked in the medical field, remember?”

“Franz,” Amity said in her continued strict tone, “You were in drug distribution. I hardly think that qualifies you to be making healthcare decisions. You’re more helpful staying alive than ripping those stitches and lettin’ your guts spill to the ground.”

“Quite right,” John agreed as he hoisted the backpack onto his shoulders. “I’ll take this and you just concentrate on walking.”

He knew Franz was putting on a brave face for the sake of the group. As if matters hadn’t been difficult enough, several weeks ago a strange, alien creature had ventured into their camp and wounded Franz with an explosive dart. He’d been one of the lucky ones, though. Several others had been killed as the innocent looking weapons had torn through their flesh. Following the incident, Franz had been too weak, and too vulnerable to join them on their journey. And, much to John’s disappointment, they’d had to leave without him. Or so he’d thought; in Franz’s attempt to follow them, he’d alerted Agnes and the others to their plight and as a result, the group almost hadn’t gotten away. If there was one thing John knew about Franz, it was that he was still feeling extremely guilty. Even if he was in a great deal of pain, he’d never reveal his burdens to the rest of them.

“Deal,” Franz muttered as the group turned back to the stream. John saw relief on his face, followed by a grimace as he stepped forwards and bore as much weight on the cane as possible. If scrabbling through the rainforest was tough for them, it seemed it was like climbing a mountain for Franz.

Back at the stream, Viktor had joined the group so that all eight members of the rogue CRYO candidates were accounted for. They were an odd crew; five men, three women, all thin and pale. Even the colour of Nathan’s darker skin seemed anaemic. But compared to when they’d first slid out of their watery cryonics tubes, they were far more muscular and fit. Back then, no one would have thought the emaciated, weak and hairless creatures they’d been would have ever survived.

John put a hand up to scratch his head and felt the hard circular metal plug in his skull where the cryonic tube hoses had been pulled away. It was a constant reminder to each and every one of them that they weren’t from this world. That they’d been unceremoniously ripped from their former lives. It had all seemed like such fun back then, the chance to live a dream. Reality was starkly different.

“You don’t have to keep me company,” Franz said apologetically as the group moved off and began to trace the stream through the landscape. It seemed the obvious choice; follow the current and see where it flowed. It also helped that, when coming across obstacles on the bank, they could simply slide into the water and wade their way past whatever was in their way.

“I want to,” John said as the group of eight gradually spread out, Tone and Amity taking the lead, content in their silence. “I feel horrible that we left you, that I left you.”

“You didn’t have a choice. I understand, honestly…now that we’re out here, more than ever. I just couldn’t bear to be left with trotters. She hated me.”

“Only by association,” John acknowledged as he watched Anne ahead. She’d seen something in the undergrowth, and with one arm affectionately thrown around Viktor’s waist, she was pointing towards a clump of foliage. She smiled and laughed excitedly, before moving off, and when it came time for John and Franz to pass the spot, he saw that the leaves she’d been gazing at were covered in dozens of brightly coloured caterpillars. They were munching through the foliage with speed, rushing towards a finish line that would thrust them into airborne life.

“Franz, let’s be honest. She hated me, not you. As soon as I was gone she’d have probably lured you into her fold along with everyone else.”

“You think I’m that easily led…”

“You’re out here aren’t you?”

Franz chuckled, a knowing smile passing over this face. “Well, better to be led by a leader than a power-hungry bitch with her eyes firmly on authoritarian rule.”

“You got that right. What do you think of them?” John nodded his head towards where Anne and Viktor were still entwined. She was almost twice his age, yet he didn’t seem to care.

“Now, now, John. Just because we’re at the back doesn’t mean we have the right to gossip. Still, it does pass the time. I think it’s nice. Makes you think, though, doesn’t it? About those left behind.”

“Yeah,” John said sadly, remembering Kath’s face. The one true friend who’d pulled him from the grief of his wife’s death. The incredibly beautiful best friend who’d bedded him after a drunken night. The woman his mother hated, and who, he’d found out in CRYO’s post-cryonics recordings, was – had been – carrying his child. “You think they’re still out there somewhere?” He caught himself echoing Natalia’s previous thoughts, despite already knowing the answer. Everyone was already gone; he was almost certain. But, there was hope for Kath. She’d said she was looking into an alternate cryonics program. Was she still out there somewhere in a tube, blissfully unaware of what was happening?

“I hope they’re out there,” Franz said, gasping momentarily as he stumbled over a root. John reached out and grabbed him before he fell, ensuring that he was okay before they continued. “But in all honesty, I don’t think they are. I mean, look at the state of the station. And the fact that Kilean, the head of the CRYO program, was in there…dead. I mean, it’s one thing for a facility to be long forgotten, but for someone as wealthy and powerful as she was, to be mummified down there? It doesn’t make sense. And then there’s all of this….” He looked around at the forest they were walking through. “This is supposed to be the Nevada Desert for God’s sake.”

John fell silent, keenly aware that Franz’s concerns were correct. They hadn’t journeyed only fifty years into the future; of that he was sure. The forest around them, when taking the size and scale of the trees, was hundreds of years at a minimum. Despite the technologically advanced CRYO station, nothing had worked such was the length of time it had been out of use. They were extremely lucky to be alive at all given the decrepit state of the environment they’d woken too. There were no satellite, Internet or phone signals to be found even once they had got a few pieces of old equipment working. Equipment that, when John was first thrust into his frozen chamber, had been at the cutting edge of technological advancement. This group, his group, were right to leave the compounds of that station. To think of it as secure, as home, was naïve. With few rations, no communication, desperately scant resources, not to mention the sorrowful band of humans who had no idea what they were doing, there could be no hope for those who remained there.

Then there was the creature, the one thing that no one spoke of. It had been a small figure, only around four and a half feet in height. But it had come into their camp and killed seven of them within minutes using only darts. Explosive darts, but darts nonetheless. Seven of only 39 humans left alive on the planet. It had disappeared as quickly as it had come, and as far as he knew, it hadn’t reappeared. It wasn’t human; not unless mankind had devolved, shrunk and lost two fingers on each hand. It was something new to their planet, an invader. Dare he even think it; an alien.

Continue reading at: | | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords | Kobo

CRYO: A Changed World – Cover Reveal

It seems like ages ago that I began to write the follow up to CRYO: Rise of the Immortals. Now, in only a couple of weeks, it’ll be released! (That’s April 13th, by the way!) In celebration, I’m not only revealing the cover, but also offering a limited time offer on Book 1 of the series. Without further ado, here’s the cover and the blurb!

A changed world 600pxIf you awoke to find that humankind had been annihilated, could you survive?

John’s dreams have crumbled. A global corporation, CRYO, kidnapped him, froze him and sent him to the future, only to fade into history as he slept. Now, John and his pod mates are in a new and strange world that’s far from anything they’ve ever known.

With a strange creature having cut their already dwindled numbers, the fight for survival has begun. There’s already discontent amongst the small group of survivors. And, as John heads out into the unknown with a small splinter group, there’s just one question; what will he find?



I’ve already added A Changed World to Goodreads, so add it to your TBR! You can also sign up to hear as soon as it’s been published so you don’t have to wait.

SALEIn the meantime, CRYO: Rise of the Immortals, book one of the series, is also on sale! Hurrah! You’ll find the $4.99 price slashed to $2.99 so you can get in on all the action without having to spend a fiver.


See the links to get your reduced copy of CRYO: Rise of the Immortals now. You can also read the first chapter here.







A Place for Science Fiction Lovers

I has to be said, I LOVE science fiction. I watch it, I read it, I write it. With CRYO: A Changed World in final edits, it got me thinking about places that people can find good SF reads. A group that offers a constant stream of new releases, deals, freebies and awesome books that take us to new realms and foreign worlds. After doing a search for likely pages on Facebook I found nothing, nada, zip.

So, as if I haven’t got enough on my plate, I decided to start Science Fiction Books. For those who might be familiar with pages, such as Ebook Corner or What to Read After Fifty Shades of Grey, the concept is the same. I’m simply posting new books by trad and indie pubbed authors every day. Some Hard SF, some Space Opera. Some Colonisation, some Post-Apocalyptic. Basically,  a little of everything. There’s a few freebies, some new releases, some discount deals and some regular priced stuff too.

So, if you’re looking for a new read and want a place where you can be assured of ONLY Science Fiction, then head over to Science Fiction Books. I started it just five days ago and already have over 100 likes, and you’re more than welcome to the crowd. 🙂

Get to know the author – Patty Jansen

Can you believe we’re in November already? The race is onto Christmas, and if you’re a writer, then you might even be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Last week I brought you the insights of Drako, an author who fills his world with beautiful dragons. This week we turn to Patty Jansen, a science fiction and fantasy author who has a back-catalogue to keep you going for months!


Tell us about yourself? Do you write for a living? If not, what’s your day job?

When I’m not writing,  I sell non-fiction books online.

Favourite food, place, colour and writing zone, please.

Coffee & chips in my office and my own chair. If not, out on the back veranda where I can sit in the nuddy (not that I ever do) and no one would see. From up there, the only thing I can see is trees!

You write in the fantasy/supernatural genre….who’s been your inspiration? Favourite books? Movies? TV Shows?

Actually, my inspiration has been my job. I worked as a research scientist and often wondered about taking the science (nonsensical or real) into the realm of the impossible. My favourite writer is C.J. Cherryh, my favourite movie is Independence Day and I don’t watch TV. I’m baaaaad at pop culture.

Who’s your favourite all time fictional character?

I absolutely adore C.J. Cherryh, and my all-time favourite character is Banichi from the Foreigner series. Yes, he’s an alien, but he’s awesome.

Who’s your favourite character in your own work?

I have a favourite character in every book. In my current WIP (Shifting Reality, currently serialised on my blog by way of ARC), my favourite character is Ari Suleiman Rudiyanto. Yes, he’s Indonesian (the name kinda gives it away), and he’s gay, and does dubious things in a space station. He’s also very smart, and because he’s bored, he does the most stupid things, like tinkering with important technology and smuggling stuff.

Let’s talk superpowers….there’s no denying we’d all love one. What would be your choice, and why?

I’d love to be able to live a very long time, like some of my characters.

Inspiration’s a funny thing. Where do you find yours? Is there one particular moment that stands out?

Oh yes. I sold a novel to a small press (Ambassador, coming out in 2013), and this book started in a very strange way. Usually, inspiration for a novel will come as a scene where two characters are talking to each other. I’d always wanted to do something thriller-y and political, and I had this idea of a character going on a major mission (the character is Cory Wilson, who as kid is the main character of my kids novel The Far Horizon). Cory was talking to this important person about a job he was about to do. I made a note of this scene, intending to file it for later. The scene was really boring, full of backstory and setting. These scenes never survive in the final product.

Anyway, the scene was so boring that my brain subconsciously decided to make it more interesting: it threw a bomb into the window of the office where the meeting was taking place. I spent the next four drafts finding out who did it.

Writers have very different approaches to completing our works. Are you a heavy plotter? Jump back and forth between scenes? Sit down, start at the beginning and just write?

Oh no, I am a pantser extra-ordinaire. In fact, I’m a pantser to my own detriment. Plotting bores me to death, although I’ll probably have to do a lot more of it if I want to be more efficient.

What’s fresh about your books? Quirky and different? Likely to entice readers and keep them coming back for more?

I write three distinct genres:

My space-based SF is hard SF. Lookie, see! I’m a woman writing hard SF. I’m trying to prove that science geekery and character development are not mutually exclusive.

My space opera is unique in that it contains aliens, and it contains Earth in a way we can recognise it, in other words, not that far into the future. In my space opera world, alienoid humans came to Earth in 1968, and lived as humans amongst us. They came, not to the US, not the UK, or not South Africa, but to Athens, Greece. It’s kinda funny how I wrote all of my novel Ambassador before the current crisis, and it’s almost as if that book was prophetic. It’s scary.

My fantasy is weird. It’s not medieval, it’s not urban fantasy, there are some science elements. My trilogy is set in a post-apocalyptic world where something that sounds suspiciously like radio-activity doubles as magic. Some people can use it, many die from exposure. I did a fair bit of reading on radiation poisoning for this one. One of the countries has steam power and uses telegraphs and balloons. Not the standard fantasy fair.

What are you working on now?

My hard SF novel Shifting Reality is almost finished.

Tentative blurb:

A few years ago, a military doctor walking the corridors of New Jakarta Station saved Melati’s life. She signed up for the International Space Force to pay back her moral debt to him. But her family thinks she has betrayed her people. It was ISF who forcefully removed their grandmothers and grandfathers from the crowded slums of Jakarta to work in interstellar space stations.

It is Melati’s job to teach six-year old construct soldiers, artificial humans grown in labs and activated with programmed minds. Her latest cohort has one student who claims that he is not a little boy, but a mindbase traveller whose swap partner took off with his body. It soon becomes clear that a lot of people are scouring the station for this man, a scientist with dangerous knowledge.

What would be a better place to hide a fugitive than in the seething mass of traditional and modern cultures and subcultures in New Jakarta’s B-sector? Problem is, Melati’s family, and especially her cousins Rina and Ari, are involved in a scheme to sell the scientist in return for greater political power for the workers so that those who wish can return to Indonesia. Never mind that if the scientist’s knowledge falls into the wrong hands, none of them will live to exercise that right.

After this, I will be writing the sequel to Watcher’s Web, after which I may write a quasi-historical fantasy based on the Dutch VOC, in which the Chinese come to a city that sounds suspiciously like 17th century Amsterdam in steam ships. Watch 17th century Europe & their squabbling royalty fight over steam power and cosying up to the Chinese! Yeah, I love torturing history. MWAHAHAHAHA!

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