My favorite book of the moment: A review of ‘The Magician of Lhasa’ by David Mitchie


Every now and then people ask what my favorite book is and I can never say, but for now, at least until I find another one, I can say that David Mitchie's The Magician of Lhasa is it. I first came across fellow Australian, David Mitchie's writing with his book The Dalai Lama's Cat, but this book is more dramatic than that and has more of a story in terms of plot. The Magician of Lhasa is the kind of metaphysical fiction that I really enjoy. The metaphysics enlighten the character's situation and provide points of wisdom for contemplation that further the plot, and this is what metaphysical fiction should do. Some works that use the metaphysical fiction handle fail to have much of a plot; they're more a delving into some metaphysical construct than a strong story with the kind of dramatic elements that a good story requires; such books are dull, but not this one. Anyone writing metaphysical fiction should read this and take note. Mitchie is a master of the genre. The Magician of … [Read more...]

Who is steampunk character Aviator Emelia Sottwell-Haverstone


How do you come up with characters? When creating visual theatre, I often used to come up with characters after making a mask, but when writing they've just popped into my head. Recently, though, I've been making masks again, steampunk masks, and they are undoubtedly steampunk characters in their own right. I've even given them names. This one is Aviator Emelia Sottwell-Haverstone. I've sold her to a person in the USA, but I'm thinking that her and some of my other steampunk mask characters may well appear in a steampunk story sometime.   What kind of character do you think Aviator Emelia Sottwell-Haverstone is? What do you imagine her doing? What kind of role might she play in a story?   … [Read more...]

Fine literature: Review of The Colour of Light by Emilie Richards


Minister Analiese Wagner faces a challenge when a homeless family camps on the church's grounds one freezing evening. She decides to let them move into the empty apartment upstairs, even though it's too late to get the church council's agreement. The rest of the book is basically the fall-out from her decision and the battles she faces as an advocate for the family and for a hands on approach to Christianity.  Added to this she faces a personal challenge when the priest she fell in love with turns up in town. They'd parted to avoid their feelings being an issue for him in his ministry as a celibate  priest, but he's come to a cross roads in his life, and she's a factor in what he chooses for the future. The book goes deeply into issues of family homelessness, living as a Christian, and personal love versus love of ministry. The characters are real and complex, and they develop in relation to their changing circumstances. The story is beautifully written and is extremely moving. Fine … [Read more...]

Excellent YA Fantasy: Paladin by Sally Slater


This is a great book.  I read a lot, and few books hold me like this one. The concept of a young woman dressing as a man so that she can follow a path other than marriage is not new, but this is done with a unique angle and such skill and that that doesn’t matter. It’s a classic theme, one that raises issues of equality and equal opportunity that will always be relevant, and Paladin combines this theme with a budding romance and questions of loyalty and betrayal. The story is set in a traditional medieval fantasy world, but there’s no sorcery. There is, however, plenty of sword and plenty of demons. Our heroine is good with her sword and wants to be a warrior, not a wife. The plot is strong and the pace excellent. I never wanted to put the book down. The characters are fully fleshed, likeable, and not always predictable but always believable. On top of this, the book has been expertly written and edited. I could not fault it on technical issues at all. The prose is excellent and … [Read more...]

How do you Measure Success?

Sucess equals soul at peace

What makes you successful? There are many different kinds of success, and success does not mean the same thing to different people. I’m a very successful person when it comes to life—which as far as I’m concerned is the only kind of success that really matters—I’m happy; I make others happy and I live my life so that on the day I die, I’ll have no regrets. But I’m not successful in other things, like selling millions of books, for example. I’ll never be successful at reaching the summit of Mt Everest along with a million or more other forms of ‘success’ that I’m not interested in achieving, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s also perfectly fine that I don’t sell millions of books. Although, of course, I would love to, that kind of success isn’t important to me. I didn’t set out on this path to sell millions of books, I set out to write the story of Ariel’s journey to the top of Diamond Peak, an analogy for the journey to enlightenment, and my measure of success wasn’t just finishing … [Read more...]

Success for a couple of my authors & some nice feedback for me.


One of the books I edited and Published with AIA Publishing won a fairly major award. Intelligent Design: Revelations was honored with the Silver award in the category of science fiction in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards for the best indie books of 2014. I'm pretty proud of this acheivement. Details here. And Another book that I edited scored an agent and she said this about my editing skills: "My name is Caroline Oliveira and I am David Homick’s literary agent. When I first met David, he spoke extraordinarily of you. Particularly, your editing and teaching skills along with your generous time spent to develop and enhance his writing style. After reading his novel, I was highly impressed with the story’s concept as it set the stage for an unfolding original and compelling story. Also, to my surprise it did not need additional editing. I know “A Lifetime Last Night” is going to be a commercially successful … [Read more...]

AIA Publishing’s latest book will likely make you consider becoming a vegetarian: ‘Spiderworld’ review


What if spider-like creatures were the top of the food chain and used humans as slaves and for entertainment and meat? Would you be selected as a buck, or would be join the majority of males as a castrate? And if you're a woman, would you be selected for breeding or sent to the arena to fight for your life against an assortment of deadly alien animals. It's a chilling vision and one that, in 'Spiderworld' by Richard Bunning, Timelord Orlando Oversight assures us will one day not be fiction. My publishing company has just published this intriguing and unique book. Readers who enjoy a bit of metaphysics in their fiction will particularly enjoy it. And if you like off-beat sci fi or any kind of speculative fiction, I'd say you really should read it. I read so many books that it's hard to find any that really excite me, but this one does (That's why I published it!) The characters are a mix of humans and spider-like aliens. There's Boklung, a verbose rather pompous spider chap, … [Read more...]

Mortdecai review: Critics can be so wrong.


I watched Mortdecai last night. It is the funniest movie I’ve seen for a long time. Yet the critics panned it. The Sydney Morning Herald, for example, said that it was a waste of talent. Where, I wonder, is their sense of humour? Did they not see that this movie is a spoof, that it is supposed to be silly? Have they not seen the original Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther? Or did they just not like the style and their idea of an excellent movie is restricted to other styles? Maybe they didn’t like the character of Mordecai—he is upper-class English with the worst of their traits. Who knows? But I suspect that to pan this movie you would have to not have a sense of humour or, at least, this style of humour doesn’t work for you. The Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, considered masterpieces in their time, weren’t for everyone either, but anyone who enjoyed the original PP would see that this is a brilliant movie, and I found it funnier. As for the remake of The Pink Panther—I didn’t find that … [Read more...]

Where have I been? Where am I going?


Sorry to have neglected you. I have no wise words for you today, just a quick catch up in case anyone might be vaguely interested. My writing has taken a seat way down the back of the bus because my masks are selling and my editing clients are building up. Making masks is a better combination with editing health wise, because I get to move around and use a different part of my brain. It's a lovely break from working with words. Also one mask sale equals 15 book sales, and I'm not selling 15 books a month, not anywhere near - mind you, I'm putting no effort into it either. Been there, done that, and it hasn't paid off. At this point it feels like flogging a dead horse. My promotions have broken even, but not actually made me any money, and it's not because they're bad books; the awards prove that.  I did better last year and the year before, but it's just getting harder. I keep waiting for the Diamond Peak Series to take off, but ... it may never happen. Whereas, I sold 4 … [Read more...]

How to suceed: the bliss and surprising results of no ambition


  The Western world suffers from the diseases of busyness and driven ambition. We are taught that ambition is a good thing, that without it we won’t go very far, but ambition that’s driven by desperation is not a good thing. There’s a big difference between having a relaxed aim to achieve or create something and being desperate to achieve. The desperate model is based on fear – the fear that we won’t succeed in what we set out to do. We feel that if we fail to succeed in an endeavour, then we are a failure and being a failure is a dreadful thing. (Is it really such a terrible thing?) This happens because we don’t separate ourselves from our project. We treat our book as if it were us, so that when someone criticises our book, we take the criticism personally.  The hope and fear that come from this kind of emotional investment in our ventures creates enormous stress and leads to defensiveness in the face of criticism that can be so extreme as to be a kind of insanity. If you … [Read more...]