Tinsel and Dust is out!

December 15, 2011 at 6:21 am | Posted in Dreamspinner Press, Equilibrium, Promotion, Short story, tinsel and dust | 2 Comments
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Tinsel & Dust is now on sale at Dreamspinner! You can get it here. I hope those of you who do buy it enjoy another glimpse into how Michael and Ryan are doing.

I’ll be giving away one copy each of Tinsel & Dust, Equilibrium and Rust Red: Galvanized at Reviews by Jessewave’s huge Christmas book giveaway, which I believe will start on December 22nd, so look out for that post to go up over there for a chance to win those and many other fabulous books. At some stage soon (when I can stop doing something other than counting down the days until I finish work for this year) I will probably run a little Tinsel & Dust giveaway here too.

In lieu of all that for now, here’s another excerpt from the book:

***

“JACK thinks that if we stay in a motel for Christmas, Santa won’t be able to find us.”

Michael frowned, rubbing his forehead with his free hand, the corner of the business card he held between his fingers blocking his vision for a moment. His frown deepened as he looked at the card, throwing it down on his kitchen bench as he spoke. “Did you tell him that Santa’s magical and can find kids anywhere?”

“Of course I did.” His sister Jen sighed. “I told him we could leave a note for Santa telling him where we are, but he’s not buying it. Santa still won’t know what our room number is, he says.”

“I suppose telling him that Santa’s not real is out of the question?”

Jen snorted softly. “Yes.”

Michael sighed. “I really want us to spend Christmas day together, Jen.” With his asshole of a father dying six weeks before, this would be the first Christmas in years where Michael didn’t have to worry about avoiding him. “I’d come back down to Sydney, but I’ve only been back in Burreela a couple of weeks. I can’t take any more time off.”

“I know.”

Michael looked around his bedsit, mentally trying to fit four extra people into the available floor space. Even with two of them being kids, there was no way. The sofa bed was barely big enough for two adults, and with it pulled out there was no room left. Even if his nephew slept in his bed with him, there was no place for the baby—his niece, Lilly—to sleep. “My place is too small to hold all of us. Not comfortably.”

Jen sighed again. “I know, Mikey. I’ll talk to him again. I mean, we’ll be coming anyway, but I’d rather not spend eight hours driving with a distraught five-year-old if I don’t have to.”

“Of course.” Michael nodded. “I’ll… I’ll try to think of something.” He paused, running through his options in his head; maybe he could sleep downstairs in the vet surgery. It’d only be for a few nights. “You’re still going to be coming up in time for Burreela’s Christmas thing, right?”

Jen laughed softly, and suddenly her tone was warm again. “The hoedown? Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“Jen! It’s not a hoedown. For a start, we’re not in America, so we wouldn’t even call it that, and for another….” He struggled to think of another reason. “It’s just not! I told you that.”

“And you can keep telling yourself that too, Mikey. It doesn’t make it any more true,” she said, laughing again. “I’m just looking forward to watching you out on the dance floor, boot-scooting your little heart out.” She dissolved into uncontrollable giggles.

Michael pinched the bridge of his nose. “Oh, my God,” he said. “That will not happen. There will be no boot-scooting. None at all.” If there was, he would absolutely die.

“I bet Ryan’s an excellent dancer,” Jen said slyly after she’d recovered her composure. “You ever seen him dance?”

The thought of Ryan dancing struck Michael speechless for a good few seconds, so long that Jen started laughing again. He cleared his throat, his face heating. “No, I haven’t, and I’m not likely to at the Christmas thing, am I? Because it’s not a bloody hoedown.”

“Like I said, keep telling yourself that.”

“I’m hanging up now.”

“Okay. Bye, Mikey. See you at the hoedown,” she said, and he could hear her still laughing as he took the phone away from his ear and hung up on her.

He glared at the phone for a moment, then looked down at the card he’d chucked onto the kitchen bench next to his mobile. He reached for it, pausing when his mobile beeped twice, telling him he had a text message. He picked it up and opened the message. It was from Jen.

Don’t forget to get a Christmas tree. Not a fake plastic one, either.

He started guiltily at the message, looking up and around at his bare lounge room, with not a pine needle or piece of tinsel in sight. He texted a message back to her, saying of course he’d remember a tree, as if he wouldn’t, then picked up his keys. He took a few steps toward the door, then came back into the kitchen, swiping the business card off the bench and shoving it into the pocket of his jeans before heading for the door again.

 

Tinsel and Dust out December 14th

December 1, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Dreamspinner Press, tinsel and dust, Writing | 4 Comments
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Tinsel and Dust is now officially classed as Coming Soon on the Dreamspinner website, yay! If you follow this link, you’ll be able to put it on your wishlist over there, and on December 14th you’ll be able to actually buy it.

Here is the official blurb:

Michael Stone has returned to Burreela and has just started to settle back in and look forward to Christmas when his sister Jen rings him with a problem. His nephew Jack is convinced that Santa won’t find them if they’re staying in Burreela’s only motel. With Michael’s flat way too small to accommodate Jen and her family, he has no alternative but to take Ryan Mitchell up on an offer to let them stay at his house. After all, Ryan argues, they’re going to be there for Christmas Day anyway, so it’s not much extra trouble. Though Michael is still wrestling with internal demons, the holiday will prove to Ryan that there’s a core of strength and courage to Michael that few people ever see.

Music and writing

November 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Dreamspinner Press, Equilibrium, tinsel and dust, Writing | Leave a comment
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Music is very important to my writing process. I only write without music if I absolutely have to, which thankfully isn’t often. The music I listen to while writing has an impact on the mood of the story: a dark story has to have a soundtrack full of dark music, while a more lighthearted story can have a more lighthearted soundtrack. Each of my published stories has a soundtrack, either a mix of songs from different artists, or a single artist; for Equilibrium it was a mix of songs, for Reasonable Force it was Velvet Acid Christ, for Eyes Wide Shut and Rust Red: Galvanized it was Midnight Oil. For Tinsel and Dust, my upcoming Equilibrium sequel, it was the John Butler Trio. Music actually plays a larger role in Tinsel and Dust than it ever has before, in that the music of the John Butler Trio actually features in a scene.

Now, I’m not going to give away what that scene actually is, because that would be telling. 🙂 But what I will tell you is what songs I was thinking of when I wrote it. To me, they fit Michael and Ryan’s situation to a tee.

Both of these songs are off the album Sunrise Over Sea. The first is called Peaches and Cream:

For so long I’ve sung this sad ol’ song,
And it feels like my time is up.
For she came and landed in my arms,
And she filled my half empty cup.
Yes she filled my half empty cup.

There you are right in front of me, 
A brand new day sunrise over sea.
No longer my cup half empty cause there you are…

and the second is called Seeing Angels:

Why do I deserve such a visit
From the one I thought I’d never meet.
Beyond my greatest expectations.
You exceeded everything. 
Well here I am 

Take me for what you see
For I’m transparent in the light of you. 
And look inside,
See that fire burning bright
The same one you rekindled inside me 

My mouth was dry
only you quenched my thirst
I thought I was last
You told me I was first. 

So there you have it, two great songs for my boys. Tinsel and Dust should be released mid-December, I have a tentative release date of December 14th for it. That’s not set in stone at the moment, but if I learn any different I’ll be sure to let you all know.

Equilibrium Christmas story

October 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Dreamspinner Press, Equilibrium, Short story | 2 Comments
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I am back in New Zealand after my sojourn in the US, via a week in Hawaii for a conference. Hawaii was hot, it had excellent pineapple and outstanding bacon, and I spent a lot of money there. I’m delighted to be back home, mostly because of getting to sleep in my own bed and having more options for clothing than what fitted into my suitcase 7 weeks ago.

I bought some incredibly snazzy Doc Martens while I was away, I am ecstatic about those. But I didn’t really start this post to talk about all of my new swag. I started this post to talk about the weather. Sort of.

When I got home on Friday morning and did my laundry, all of my clothes had dried on the clothesline by that afternoon. Today, there was not a cloud in the sky, and I was quite unpleasantly warm and sweaty (oh, sorry, “glowing”) by the time I’d finished pulling up 7 weeks worth of weeds from my backyard. This is the time of year when I start avoiding going out into the sun for too long in the middle of the day, lest the pale, delicate flower that I am gets burned to a crisp in the ozone layer-depleted Southern Hemisphere sunshine.

All that means that summer’s coming. And in this hemisphere, it means that Christmas is coming too. About six weeks ago I mentioned that in December I will have a short story coming out from Dreamspinner entitled “Tinsel and Dust”; it’s a coda to Equilibrium, which picks up a couple of weeks after the novel ends and describes Michael and Ryan’s first Christmas together in Burreela. I don’t have a blurb for it yet, but now that we’re six weeks closer to release what I do have is an edited version, so I’m going to share a little bit of it with you now. I hope you enjoy it.

***

Michael first became aware of the warmth of Ryan at his back. He sighed, snuggling back into Ryan’s body and settling back down. But after a moment he realized that something felt wrong, or odd, not right; he rubbed at his eyes and blinked awake, to be confronted by huge blue eyes in a pale face just inches from his own in the before-dawn grayness of the room. He gasped and jerked back violently, elbowing Ryan hard in the ribs. Ryan grunted and curled in on himself, pulling away, but all Michael could do was put a hand on his chest so his hammering heart wouldn’t pound right out of it.

“Fu—udge, Jack, what are you doing?” he whispered fiercely. He looked at the clock. “It’s five in the morning!” They’d only been asleep for a few hours.

Jack smiled at him, not seeming to notice his mood. “Santa’s been!” he said, and ran out of the room.

Michael stared after him, then slammed his head back on the pillow. “Unbelievable.”

“Ow,” Ryan said from behind him, his voice muffled by the pillow. “Rudest awakening ever.”

“Sorry,” Michael said over his shoulder. “He scared the shit out of me.”

“What did he want?”

“Didn’t you hear? Santa’s been!”

Ryan groaned. “Christ almighty.” He rolled onto his stomach, shoving his face further into the pillow. “Santa wants to go back to sleep. There aren’t enough Tim Tams in the world to make up for this.”

Michael reached back and patted Ryan on the backside. “Don’t get too comfortable, Saint Nick. If I have to get up, so do you. That’s the deal.”

Ryan groaned again and put the pillow over his head.

***

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