Thursday, 1 December 2016

Coffee chat with Aussie author Sue Parritt, author of climate-change fiction novels

Coffee chats are a great way to find out about an author. They're short and snappy. Like a piccolo coffee. Mmmm. Now, I don't know about you, but I need two cups to start my day. Whether you drink coffee, tea or cocoa, grab a seat and have a beautiful morning.
Today on my blog I have Sue Parritt, a fiction writer based in Mornington, Victoria, Australia. Sue's trilogy is of a future dystopian Australia, focusing on climate change and the treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. With the recent crazy weather patterns in Australia, climate change is something we no longer think of as never going to happen.
Please welcome Sue to my virtual coffee table.
DL: Firstly, how do you have your coffee?  Are you a morning or afternoon person?

SUE: This first question is an interesting one as I don’t drink coffee! British born and bred, I’m very much a tea person and I drink that beverage strong with milk at any time of the day! I’m at my  best in the morning but not too early.

DL:  Cli-Fi is a relatively new term that is being brandied about. Can you tell us what Cli-Fi is? And which novels, do you think, pioneered these type of books into having their own genre?
SUE: Cli-Fi or Climate Change fiction, is fiction usually set in the future, that deals with climate change/global warming. Two books I have read that I feel pioneered this genre are: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and Flight behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. See also for my article Cli-Fi/Eco fiction – categories of truth.
DL: Dystopian fiction is very popular at the moment. The underlying theme is usually oppression and a plot to revolt and unhinge the new world order. What do you think makes dystopian fiction different to super hero fiction?
SUE: As a writer of dystopian fiction, I see the difference as primarily one of character creation and development. Characters in dystopian fiction don’t possess super human powers and must rely on courage, determination and defiance to achieve their goals. In my novels, Sannah and the Pilgrim (Odyssey Books, 2014), Pia and the Skyman (Odyssey Books, 2016) and The Sky Lines Alliance (Odyssey Books - due November 2016) the characters are ordinary people trying to overcome extraordinary situations and effect much-needed change. Unlike super hero fiction, characters in dystopian fiction often pay the ultimate price for their actions and must leave others to continue their work.
DL: You have what so many others dream of - the chance to write full time. Has having time helped keep up the momentum of writing a series, or are you a naturally self-disciplined person, or is it publisher deadlines that motivate you?

SUE: I am a naturally self-disciplined person but having time to write – I saved hard in order to take early retirement in September 2008 and devote myself to creativity – has certainly helped keep up the momentum of writing a series, as has the peace and quiet, no phones or doorbell audible in the beautiful writing studio my husband built for me in our back garden. The third book in my trilogy of a future dystopian Australia, The Sky Lines Alliance owes its swift (for me) completion to my publisher’s deadline. 

DL: Have you got any tips for writers? Or what is the best writing tip you ever received?

SUE: My tips for writers – full time part time or any time you can spare – is to keep on writing to hone your craft and never give up no matter how many rejections crowd your in-box or mail box.  My method of dealing with rejection is to note the result in my Submissions file and then decide where next to send the manuscript. Patience is also a necessary virtue – once accepted by a publisher, it can take many months before the book is published.

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?
SUE: Favourite biscuit or cake: Anything chocolate!

About the books
Books in this series are: Sannah and the Pilgrim, Pia and the Skyman, and The Skylines Alliance - all published by Odyssey Books.

When Sannah the Storyteller, a descendant of environmental refugees from drowned Pacific islands, finds a White stranger on her domestep, she presumes he's a political prisoner on the run seeking safe passage to egalitarian Aotearoa. However, Kaire's unusual appearance, bizarre behaviour, and insistence he's a pilgrim suggest otherwise. Appalled by apartheid Australia, Kaire uses his White privileges to procure vital information for Sannah and her group of activists regarding new desert prisons that are to be built to house all political prisoners. The group plans sabotage but needs help, and Kaire is a willing accomplice. But when Sannah turns Truthteller and threatens to reveal the country's true history, even Kaire's White privilege and advanced technology cannot save Sannah and her daughter from retribution.

Buy the books
Praise for Sannah and the Pilgrim

“It’s a complicated story that intertwines the realities and threats of the twenty-first century, along with the ever present prejudices, with the possibilities of a future that looks even more bleak. It is a compelling tale and readers will certainly be eagerly looking forward to the sequel.”  Readers Favorite

Follow Sue on Facebook
Read more on her website

Thank you so much for stopping by, Sue, and good luck with the writing! Please keep us updated on any new books.

And thank you reader for stopping by!

D L Richardson

Monday, 28 November 2016

Coffee chat with Aussie indie author David Coe, author of "1,101 Words2Watch" writer resource

The coffee chats have been hugely successful in highlighting Aussie indie authors of fiction, non-fiction, horror, historical, sci-fi, books for adults readers and younger readers. I'm an advocate of reading outside the genre your write, and reading widely and everything, so it's been a delight to showcase a broad range of genres and authors.

Today's coffee chat is with David Coe. David is an accomplished presenter, author, editor, animation producer, and script writer who quickly gets to the intellectual and emotional core of a business case. He's also the author of "1,101 Words2Watch", a great resource for writers everywhere.

And finally, someone else who drinks coffee! Read earlier coffee chats if you want to know what I'm talking about.

Welcome David,

DL: Firstly, since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee?

DAVID: Latte please

DL: Are you a morning or afternoon person?

DAVID: Afternoon

DL: As a man of communication, which do you think is more powerful - words or images?  

DAVID: The brain engaging first with images rather than words. The words should underpin the message of the visual. If the words come first, the brain tends to skip over them without engaging deeply.

DL: I think the written English language is like skiing, you either love it or you don't. I love it and therefore want to learn everything about it. So it always surprises me that journalists would need help with writing. Do you think journalists put the story first and rely on editors behind the scenes to work their magic?  And if yes, why do you think that these editors aren't writing the stories?

DAVID: The term “journalist” covers reporters and editors, and there is no room in today’s cash-strapped media for reporters who can’t write. To write to a professional standard requires lots of practice under strong guidance, which people don’t get before they enter the media. When I was a cadet journalist, a senior editor went through everything I wrote word by word, line by line for a 18 months. The difference between a reporter and an editor is that the reporter is like a prospector who can find diamonds and the editor is like a diamond polisher who brings a fresh eye to the gem.  

DL: What sort of barriers do authors face when they don't have a great command of the English language?

DAVID: If authors don’t have a great command of English, their biggest challenge is find a way to reach readers without the most basic tools in their toolbox – words. Some overcome that with visual communications. Others use audio and video. Some may use a ghost writer. Whichever path the author takes will depend on the content they want to share.

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?

DAVID: Vanilla cannoli



D L Richardson says: "1,101 Words2Watch is a useful resource for writers. Not long ago on Facebook I played the homonym game with readers and we came up with over 100 words that sounded the same but were spelt differently. Such as there and their, ate and eight, cue and queue. As a writer, there is a vast difference between these words and if we get them wrong, we can change the meaning of our content. And worse, we look like idiots. We should command the English language. This book covers words that are often mistaken for another such as accept and except, allowed and aloud, admission and admittance. Spell check doesn't pick up these words because they are not spelt incorrectly."





David Coe is a communications strategist who rose from a classically trained cadet journalist to becoming the editor responsible for the Financial Review’s information graphics before establishing himself as Australia’s authority on investor social media. See WEBSITE for further details and resources and events.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Coffee chat with Aussie author Karen J Carlisle

Good morning everyone! It's Thursday, and that means I'm inviting another Aussie author into my virtual café. Firstly, I can't believe how many people are not coffee drinkers! Maybe I should invite authors around for a glass of wine instead.
Today's coffee chat is with Karen J Carlisle. She is an Adelaide writer, artist, gardener, chocoholic, and tea lover. Karen writers speculative fiction including steampunk, Victorian mystery, and fantasy.
DL: Firstly, since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? Are you a morning or afternoon person?

KAREN: Coffee doesn’t agree with me. Do you mind if I make mine a hot cup of tea instead? Black. No sugar, please. When I was a kid, my great granddad used to make us tea and tell us stories of ‘home’, in a thick Scot accent. I remember him each time I have a cup, so it’s just not a steampunk thing.

I’m not a morning person. I struggle to function before 9 am. A good cup of tea helps. I’m more of a night owl and have been known to still be writing at 1 am (which possibly explains my morning issues).

DL: I love steampunk, and this looks like a great series. Your first series is based on Jack The Ripper. Is it difficult to come up with new adventures for your characters?

KAREN: Yes and no. (Don’t you love ambiguous answers.)

I need a spark to set me off – a title, a thought, an atmosphere, a ‘what if’ – then I’m off. Once I immerse myself in the research, I get more ideas and I can start twisting history into my alternate version.

There are those serendipitous moments when the idea just pops up. Sometimes it’s a title, sometimes a scene or a set of clues. Sometimes it is just a feeling – an atmosphere I want to create.

With Doctor Jack, I was watching a Jack the Ripper documentary and ‘wondered what if my Men in Grey had a hand in the whole affair?’ The story snowballed from there. With Eye of the Beholder, it was an Ancient Egypt documentary. The Victorians loved Egypt. Point of View is a short story told from the maid’s point of view. It was inspired by a documentary on the ‘below stairs’ of Victorian life. I used it as an exercise - writing in only one point of view for the entire story.

Unfortunately, ideas sometimes need to be pried out of my brain so I delve into my Ideas Box, full of snippets scribbled on paper. (You know those ideas you get at 3am in the morning, or in the shower?)

Currently, I’m compiling notes for the next book. I had no idea what hook I could use for the featured novella. I wrote a list of ‘very Victorian’ things to find something to inspire me. Now I’m researching 19thcentury illusionists, which has sparked off some unpleasant situations for the characters.

DL: Do you plot your series, and when you determine the "stakes" for your character, i.e. what they risk to reach their goal, do you reflect on personal experience or look at others' experiences?

KAREN: I must admit I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, which is probably why I take so long to finish one book. I do jot down copious notes on ideas to use for a story - a small list of main crisis points (explosions, murders), specific clues to be included, and I usually have a vague idea of how I want the story to end.
Sticky note plot board (c) Karen J Carlisle
I had tried detailed story planning - scene by scene - but I froze; it felt like I was trapped, triggering my anxiety. Now I use sticky notes on the cupboard, making it easier to order ideas, ditch them or add new ones as I go. My stories seldom resemble the original vision.

Some of their sticky situations have stemmed from personal experiences. I started writing again to face some daemons in my life. The writing was cathartic. Now it’s a compulsion. I have to write. I see the world in a different light (possibly coloured from a steady diet of ‘whodunits’, science fiction and fantasy over the years).

Ideas also come from documentaries, news items or research.

DL: I noticed that your book is featured in the Halloween Comic Con. I love the idea of a Halloween Comic Con. How did that come about?

KAREN: A group of local indie authors and comic book creators got together for a chat, after one of the local pop conventions, to brainstorm ways we could connect locally with our readers, ‘get our names known’ and maybe sell more books. Many of us can’t afford to travel interstate at this time. Darren Kaziol, of Decay Comics, convinced the organisers of the Flinders Street Markets to let us take over their space for a weekend. This is our second year.

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?

KAREN: I have a savoury tooth. I’m quite partial to Lemon Crisp biscuits. They’re both tangy and salty. And I do love a rich chocolate cake with thick chocolate icing.

Thanks so much for dropping into my virtual café for a cup of tea.
About the books

The Adventures of Viola Stewart

A Victorian Steampunk Mystery Series

Murder, mummies, mystery and a secret society plotting to take over The Empire.
The Adventures of Viola Stewart – introduces Viola Stewart, a widowed optician with a penchant fordetectiving, who stumbles upon a secret Society of Men in Grey. This Victorian Mystery series is set in a steampunk fantasy world and has a gaslamp flavour.
Author appearances
17th December, 2016: Adelaide Indie Author Pop-up Store. Karen will be signing her books at Greenlight Comics, 18 Stephens Place, Adelaide. 
Links to Buy
She is also on Goodreads:

About the author
Karen J Carlisle. lives in Adelaide with her family and the ghost of her ancient Devon rex cat. She is a writer, artist, gardener, chocoholic, and tea lover. Karen writers speculative fiction including steampunk, Victorian mystery, and fantasy.
She currently writes full time and can be found plotting fantastical, piratical, or airship adventures.
You can check out more of her books and art on her website

Places to find Karen’s Writing:

Social Media:



Monday, 21 November 2016

For Review: Welcome to the Apocalypse, sign up at Sci Fi and Scary

The Apocalypse Games is a state of the art virtual game designed to entertain doomsday preppers, gamers, and cosplayers. Over 100 people enter simulation pods and hook up to the computer with one goal: survive 24 hours of an apocalypse. Instead of game over at the end, they’re plugged straight into a new game. Then another. It’s clear the computer has malfunctioned. What's not clear is why.
For fans of The Hunger Games, Ready Player One, Robopocalypse

Release date: November 21, 2016
Genre: post apocalyptic sci-fi
D L Richardson is an author of paranormal books for teens, and author of apocalyptic and dystopian sci-fi books for adults. Lover of coffee, music, and animals. Lives in Australia with her husband and dog. WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE - PANDORA avail now: for fans of Robopocalypse, The Hunger Games, Ready Player One, World War Z.

Coffee chat with AnneMarie Brear, Aussie author of historical fiction

Welcome to AnneMarie Brear, author of historical and contemporary romance novels, plus the odd short story.
AnneMarie has wonderful news to share on the coffee chat today. She is one of a number of authors chosen to be published by Norwegian publisher, Cappelen Damm. Her book, "Where Dragonflies Hover", will be translated and published in Norway!
This is many author's dream to have books translated into foreign languages, so please join me in congratulating AnneMarie on this achievement.

DL: Firstly, since this a virtual coffee chat, how do you have your coffee? Are you a morning or afternoon person?

AnneMarie: Definitely a morning person. I find I get more things done in the morning. I have a coffee machine at home, so I enjoy a nice cappuccino with no sugar.  

DL: You have an impressive list of novels. 14 now, I believe. Does the writing get faster and easier with each new book, or do you still face the same challenges?

AnneMarie: Because I mainly write historical fiction, I still have to do a lot of research for each novel, which can slow the process down. No matter how much you think you know a period or era well, you still have to double check everything. So my novels now take about a year to write, unlike my first novel which took me 2 years to write because I had no idea what I was doing at the time. Now, when I write a novel I know the art and craft of writing one, so it’s only the research that will take the time.

DL: If you could go back in time to the Victorian ages, would you stay for a short visit or would you consider living there? And why?

AnneMarie: That’s a good question. I think I would only stay a short time, unless I was very wealthy. If I was rich back then and able to afford servants and a beautiful country house, perhaps I would consider staying. Servants to do all the hard work of everyday living such as cooking and cleaning would make life so much easier.

DL: I'm sure you're a fan of TV shows like Escape To The Country. Do you rely on TV shows, books, etc for your research, or have you visited England and Scotland for yourself?

AnneMarie: I actually live in England now. I’ve been living here for nearly 5 years, after marrying a wonderful Englishman. So I have the luxury of being surrounded by history. I really enjoy visiting country houses and exploring old buildings and castles in ancient towns. To see these places in person really does help my research.

DL: And last question, what is your favourite biscuit and/or cake at the moment?

Anne Marie: I love cakes, much more than biscuits. I will try any cake at least once! My favourites are chocolate fudge cake, carrot cake, coffee and walnut cake. Actually I think I will eat just about any cake.

DL: Thanks so much for stopping by and congratulations on the Norwegian translation!

AnneMarie: Thank you for having me. 

About the book
You can check out her current book "Where Dragonflies Hover" which is described as being "choc-lit".

Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it. 

Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.

Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …

About being translated into Norwegian

"The translation rights have been bought for Where Dragonflies Hover by Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm AS. This is an excellent opportunity for one of my books to reach an ever wider audience by being translated into another language. I am so thrilled with this new development and am looking forward to seeing this new partnership grow. More information about the trade deal can be found here."

Sounds like a great opportunity AnneMarie, we wish you the best.
About AnneMarie
Annemarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate - not always in that order!

You can follow AnneMarie
Annemarie Brear on the web: 
Twitter @annemariebrear