Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Oz Comic-Con indie author alley - D L Richardson


The time is almost upon me to pack the car with books and merchandise and head to Australia's version of Comic-Con. In June this year I attended SupaNova, and it was my first time as a stall holder. One thing a few customers said was, while they love books they just couldn't fit any more in their house. And it's not easy to sell ebooks at a stall though I did have bookmarks made up with the scan code. So I created a range of products to sell that weren't books but were still part of the franchise. And hey, I own the franchise, so why not be like George Lucas and Disney?
I'll sell t-shirts, book bags, artwork as well as all of my seven book titles. Here's a sample of the goods I'll be selling. I hope to be able to sell these online as well. But first I have to figure out what sort of online store I want.

I hope to see you there.
Oz Comic-Con
Darling Harbour International Convention Centre
September 30 - October 1, 2017


Friday, 15 September 2017

Author spotlight on Miranda Nading, Mirren Hogan, and Stephanie Barr

Indie authors are getting under the spotlight on my blog this month.
So far I've put these authors under the spotlight.
Now it's time for 3 more indie authors to showcase their books.
Miranda Nading
Mirren Hogan
Read my review of Crimson Fire here
Stephanie Barr
Coming soon
More authors under the spotlight...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Speculative fiction - what is it and why do I write it? by D L Richardson

Speculative Fiction

What is it and Why do I write it?
Welcome to my new subscribers, and hello to my current subscribers. Many of you have been on my VIP list for a few years, since my first novel was published, a young adult title called The Bird With The Broken Wing. A lot has changed in that time. I’ve written two more YA novels as well as four books for adults. It’s occurred to me that some of you might have signed up while I was writing YA and my books for adults might not be to your liking. That’s okay. Today, I thought I’d give you a brief look into the world of speculative fiction.
What is speculative fiction?
It’s broadly described as a piece of fiction applying the “what if” principle. What if vampires were real? What if the world ended because of a meteor strike? What if you could become invisible for a day? All fiction is, in essence, speculative. What if the man you loved dumped you for a younger woman (chick-lit)? What if you were being chased by a serial killer (thriller)? What if you were single and looking for love (romance)?
The term ‘speculative fiction’ is usually applied to three genres and their subgenres because thrillers and romance and women’s fiction typically are called literary, historical, or commercial fiction. They don’t involve the supernatural or the predictive.
These listed subgenres are just a few examples. There are so many more with mash-ups and new styles.
Science fiction eg: apocalyptic, space opera, adventure, dystopian, futuristic, 
Horror eg: supernatural thriller, ghosts, slasher, psychological thriller, magic, demons
Fantasy eg: urban fantasy, swords and sorcery, magic, epic saga, dragons, shape shifters, vampires
Why do I write speculative fiction?
In one way, the answer is I don’t know. If you look at my book shelf at home it has a vast range of genres. There’s romance, sci-fi, horror, thriller, chick-lit, YA, fantasy, classic literature. Some of my favourite books are not speculative fiction: the Secret Garden, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Outsiders. But then some of them are: The Hobbit, Roboapocalypse, Interview with the Vampire. Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy are two my favourite authors. But then, so are Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
However, speculative fiction something I’m draw to writing. I believe this area offers the best method for me to explore the philosophical discussions that happen inside my head. When it comes to science fiction, we can predict a future world. That’s easy. We can create policies and practices. Also easy. The beauty of this genre is that most sci-fi stories not only get a reader to ask “Can we do this?” but they can allow a reader to ask “Should we do this?” The current state of world affairs provides everyone with the chance to ask this question. My dystopian novel (currently with a major publisher son fingers crossed for me) explores the philosophical discussion around population control and oppression. These can be, but not always, very exhilarating genres to write and read.
It’s not the only genre I write in. I currently have four romance novels and one crime/thriller novel that I aim to work on over the course of next year and submit to publishers. So even if speculative fiction or fantasy or science fiction isn’t your thing, maybe one of my future books might make it onto your reading pile.
Thanks for the opportunity to chat to you. Take care till we next chat.
D L Richardson

No promo, no brags, no links

There are no links in this blog post, no calls to action, no self-promo, no incentives, no promises. I realize so many readers are becoming bombarded with 'buy me' emails and posts, I worry that authors may be losing touch with the reason we wrote these pieces in the first place. To connect. To say hi. To say this is what I've been up to.

Well, I've been up to my neck in the daily grind of working to pay the bills and family dramas that would give Downton Abbey a run for their money. It's called life.

Hope your life isn't too hectic at the moment. What with Christmas only around the corner.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Author spotlights - Jeanette O'Hagan, J I Rogers, Jesse Frankel

All through the month of September, a group of indie authors, including myself, are putting the spotlight on each other.
So far we've put the spotlight on:
Now its these three authors turn.
Jeanette O'Hagan


You can read my review of "The Herbalist's Daughter" book here
J. I. Rogers
Read the 5 star review from Readers Favorite

Jesse Frankel
Please follow and like and sign up to newsletters. More authors will be coming under the spotlight soon.
Sharing is caring this September for indie authors.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Author spotlight on Diane Morrison, Jane Suen, and Jason Nugent

September is spotlight author month.
A group I belong to is holding a month long promotion. I'll post a few authors at a time. Why not drop by and check them out.
Today the spotlight is on...


More authors to come under the spotlight in a few days.
Have you checked any of these books out yet?


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

An author's journal - getting healthy

I started recording my daily eating and exercise routine to keep myself on track. I find it's working. However updating the log daily takes up time. So I'll keep a track and only post it once a week.

I also may not get around to writing down every meal, but I'll share techniques I'm using to help me "lose the caboose". For example, last night at dinner, my husband and I went to a Chinese restaurant. Usually we get the honey chicken (it's deep fried chicken pieces drizzled in honey sauce). It's delicious. And we eat it with fried rice.

Our Friday night once a week if we're lucky eat-out dining experience:
I swapped deep fried chicken for sizzling chicken in Szechuan sauce and I ate mostly vegetables anyway.
I swapped fried rice for boiled rice.
I only had 1 spring roll and 1 dim sim instead of 2 pieces each.

Our binge movie watching experience:
Normally when the husband and I sit down to watch movies, we break out the popcorn and maybe other snacks. This time we sat and watched it without popcorn. I know, I hear you say, how could I?

The weekend dog walk:
Instead of just walking the dog, I called up a friend who also has a dog and we took them down to the beach. There's a really long beach to walk along. That took us an hour return. all that walking on the sand was felt days later.

Now for the confessions. 4 days of discipline is easy to achieve. After that, life interrupts, and while I'm conscious of changing my eating patterns, yes it's more salad and vegetables with dinner, I've also broken my goal of drinking when not socialising. Can I share why? I'm feeling a bit down from the loss of hope I've been experiencing. Most movie and book plots follow a structure. Character in the real world. Inciting incident. Call to adventure. All is lost.

I'm also at the disillusioned stage. I cancelled a podcast because 'what's the point?' was all I could think of.

I'm at this 'all is lost' and 'disillusioned' stage. Most authors live here or at least visit it. We want something. We work hard to get it. We don't get it. At the end of the day, success relies on a lot of luck. So I'm feeling unlucky. And I'm licking my wounds. With scotch. And wine. But not cheese. I am not a fan of the dairy industry and the way it treats animals so I will not go down without my principles at least.

Note to self. Get past the 'all is lost' phase and move into the 'battle' phase. It's all any of us can do. I've passed the point of 'no return'. Now I need to make it to the 'achieve goal' stage.

So it's true, perfect health really is about the mind, the body, and the spirit.

More on this journey next week.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Author spotlights - Stacy Bennett, Audra Trosper, Merri Halma

September is spotlight author month. A group I belong to is holding a month long promotion. I'll post a few authors at a time. Why not drop by and check them out.
More spotlights to come over the month of September.
Plus reviews of books. I promise I'll get to these asap.

Movie reviews - ARQ (sci-fi) and Dr Strange (Marvel)

We've had windy weather in Australia. so not much to do outdoors unless you wanna end up in Oz. Me, I'm fine with the indoors. I have plenty of books to read, novels to write, a piano and guitar to play. My husband, though, he's like a bear in a cage. So we sat down to watch movies on Netflix.

First up ARQ.

Synopsis: Trapped in a lab and stuck in a time loop, a disoriented couple fends off masked raiders while harboring a new energy source that could save humanity.
ARQ is a Netflix original film written by the writer and director of Orange Is The New Black, Tony Elliott. It was filmed in 19 days in Toronto, Canada. 
Quote by Jim Thompson: "There is only one plot - things are not what they seem". ARQ takes this simple plot and proves it over and over and over.
The characters are stuck in a time loop and at first Renton thinks he has to save Hannah from a group who've broken into his home. He gets shot and wakes up in bed at the same time as the first attack. At first he's the only one who remembers what happened. He tries to outwit the attackers, and ends up dead, then time loops again. This happens over and over, and slowly the other characters begin to remember.
It's set in a dystopian future in the middle of a war that humans are losing and the machine causing the loop becomes the main target for the enemy, and its when this is realised that the characters do everything to stop it falling into the wrong hands.
I really found myself rooting for these characters. Its full of twists, it's clever, and I truly wanted Renton and Hannah to beat the odds. Every time they tried, they failed. But they refused to give up.
5 stars from me.
I love clever writing and lots of twists. Kept me interested through the entire movie.

Next up: Dr Strange

Synopsis: A neurosurgeon who, after a car accident that led to a journey of healing, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.
The fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Dr Strange, stars Benedict Cumberbatch. He's an excellent actor in everything I've seen and this is no exception. It's a good versus evil plotline, nothing new there, yet its injected with subtle humour and a very real person in Steven Strange learning to be a nicer human being.
There's a line in the movie where Dr Strange uses a time loop to trap the evil entity, Darmammu. Darmammu tells Dr Strange "You'll never win". Dr Strange replies, "no but I can keep losing". And it was this line that ties back to the plotline of ARQ, where the characters keep losing in order to win.
I give this 4 stars.
Lots of digital effects and I love that it features astral projection. Well worth watching.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Cooking during the Apocalypse

Good Morning / Evening / Afternoon, wherever you are in the world I hope it's good.
In Book 1 of "Welcome to the Apocalypse - Pandora", there are two game presenters who instruct the players on items to hunt and gather in order to survive each apocalypse. Most of the items are self-explanatory, dried foods, tinned foods, packaged foods, but what sort of meals would you likely be eating during any sort of apocalypse? I thought I'd put together a simple meal planner for the typical apocalyptic week. Most of these techniques were passed down from my mother and passed down to her from her mother. And it might be because I go camping, that I still rely on many of these techniques, because I just can't take everything in the kitchen with me.
It also makes me wonder that if humans lose the practice of handing down practical tips, and the skills of bare essential cooking who will be the survivors of the apocalypse?
A flat pan can be used to cook bread, but it works best in a camp oven or use a lid to get it to rise.

One of my favorite food types. Bread can eaten plain, toasted, loaded with butter or jam, dipped in soups. Our bakers will have a hard time keeping up with the demand, but anyone can make an incredibly easy bread with flour and water and place it in a iron pot over a campfire. I grew up making a simple sour-bread, and it's absolutely delicious. Often I vary up the recipe with tinned tomatoes and herbs, or I use pineapple juice, you could add raisins and nuts.
Main meals:
Pasta and rice will cook in the same pan so you don't need to carry more than one pan/pot.
Pasta and rice are going to be staple ingredients during the tough times. But they're also rather boring. But these two staple ingredients can become culinary delights and they're both suited to salty, sweet, savoury, and milky flavours. They're also suited to meats, nuts and vegetables. And they're filling.
Soups, stews, casseroles have been a staple diet for centuries.
Anything put in water and cooked is a soup. Soups have been around for centuries as meals to go the distance, especially in times of depleted resources. And if you dip the homemade bread into a soup, it'll fill everyone up and taste great.
Coffee and tea:
Tea is my least- favourite hot beverage, but I'd drink it for the soothing effect
Instant coffee and tea will last as long as their shelf-life dictates, but production of these two beverages will cease. Most apocalyptic scenarios will have limited energy and resources. But there are alternatives. Ask any bush survivalist and they'll tell you that plants boiled in water can provide nutrients and a calming effect that comes from sipping on a hot beverage. Dandelions may be weeds, but in the apocalypse they will become your new coffee or tea.
Flour and water scones cooked in fruit
For those of you who love ice cream, the apocalypse will be your worst nightmares. With no electricity, there will be no freezers. As with the simple bread recipe, you can add tinned fruit and chocolate to the bread mix and bake it in the oven. Most fruits are suitable for cooking - bananas, apples, peaches, apricots. If anyone is lucky enough to make a simple cake, boiled lime juice and sugar poured over the top while it's still warm will provide a delicious dessert.
While it's true that these techniques cater for the camping crowd, but during the apocalypse people will mostly cook over open fires. Man's greatest discovery was fire. It will be the thing that keeps us warm and fed.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about cooking during the apocalypse. So far, in Books 1 and 2, the characters haven't had to rely on these techniques because they have enough stored food, but they will run out of food.
Did you know...
I learned many of these techniques from my mother. I grew up in a poor household (no this isn't a woe is me story), with four siblings. There was one income and my mother managed to cook a feast every Sunday out of one chicken, potatoes and pumpkin, and we always had a homemade apple pie. She learned a lot of her simple cooking skills from growing up on a farm in Wales. The point is that during hard times, those who can make simple meals and make them last will find it easier to adapt. Apart from dandelion coffee, I refuse to substitute real coffee for anything, and when the planets runs out of coffee, I will know we are in the middle of the apocalypse.
I've had fun sharing these cooking tips with you. If I see you in the apocalypse, be sure to drop by my kitchen.