Monday, 30 September 2013

My Debut Novel Is On Amazon!

It's OUT! Yes, my debut novel, BLOODGIFTED, is finally available as both a paperback and ebook on Amazon. It's been a long grueling road, but worth every step; a steep learning curve that has taught me so much about writing, editing and publishing.
There were times when I wondered if it would ever happen after experiencing so many setbacks with proofreading, formatting errors, typos, and a new blog address which had to be changed at the last minute on the back cover. But, all these minor irritations were overcome, and now I have a polished novel I am proud to put my name to.

So, here it is.
Read and enjoy.

"Descended from a cursed Roman soldier, Laura Dantonville has inherited the ability to delay ageing but much of her past is unknown to her. That includes knowledge of her true parentage and the fact that her unique blood is coveted by the secret society of vampires who reside in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
She later learns it's her blood alone that provides these creatures with the ability to tolerate daylight. As such, she is the epicentre of a power struggle between two rival groups who want to claim her.
The oldest and most powerful of these factions is led by Alec Munro, whose position as leader, or Princeps, gives him sole claim to Laura.
Has she any other choice but to accept her destiny?"

BLOODGIFTED, Book 1 of The Dantonville Legacy

Friday, 27 September 2013

What Does A Vampire's House Look Like? Here It Is!

Well, here's Tasty Teaser #2 from BLOODGIFTED.
It's the house of Lucien Lebrettan, my heroine, Laura Dantonville's father, and Prime Elder of the Brethren in Sydney. His house is an embodiment of his power - grand, imposing and somewhat intimidating.
I had fun trying to find a house which suited that image, especially as Sydney has many old Victorian, gothic-style mansions, and any one of them would have been perfect as the house of an prominent vampire, with their mysterious gargoyles, impressive gables and imposing structures. But, it also had to be a home for Laura's bodyguard, the Roman soldiers who'd lived for eighteen hundred years waiting for the birth of the one who would end the curse.

The house I eventually chose is an amazing National Trust property called, The Abbey. It was constructed by the first Premier of New South Wales and the father of Federation, Sir Henry Parkes, in the then popular neo-gothic style.

When Laura sees it for the first time, she's both repulsed and as well as impressed. But, I'll let her tell it in her own words.

Did he say house? The sandstone building at the end of the driveway was a magnificent neo-Gothic mansion of a style popular sometime in the late nineteenth century. A copper-clad tower dominated one side of the building. I gaped at turrets, arches with stained glass windows and ornate gables, while stone gargoyles stared impassively down at all who entered.
Perfect place for a vampire gathering! 
As Alec drove in, I rolled down the windows and inhaled the heady scent of eucalypt from the trees that lined the expansive driveway. Crushed gum nuts and leaves crunched under the tyres as he turned the car into a large clearing capable of accommodating up to a hundred vehicles. An area had been cordoned off for parking and was almost filled to capacity with a range of limousines and luxury cars, including one or two Ferraris, a Porsche, even a sleek red corvette.
‘Sports cars!’ I turned to him with an, I-rest-my-case, look.
He smiled and eased into a spot marked, Reserved for Princeps. Coming around to my side, he opened the door and linked my arm through his as we made our way to the front entrance. ‘Laura, stay close to me the whole night. Promise me.’
To my surprise, he sounded concerned.
The impressive and heavily lacquered front door, had carved eucalyptus leaves along the outside edge, and two multi-coloured glass window panels greeted the visitor at eye level. I did a quick scan, expecting to see cobwebs and scuttling spiders, but there were none. Then I wondered if we’d be greeted by the obligatory creepy butler, such as Lurch, from Addams Family, and held my breath as the door opened. The porch was flooded with golden light and soft music could be heard in the background as a tall, blonde–haired man stepped out. It was Luc Lebrettan.

I think I gave an audible sigh of relief.
He smiled warmly and lifted my hand to his lips. ‘Laura, it’s a pleasure to see you once more.’
Again, I experienced a sense of familiarity and felt the same prickling as on the previous night.
‘I believe you and Luc have already met?’ Alec asked.
‘Yes, at my aunt’s,’ I replied. Alec had said he was one of the five officiates, which meant he had to be one of the oldest vampires here. I only found out how old Alec was because I asked him outright.
‘There has been a change in the order of events. The Ritual will be performed first followed by the usual festivities,’ Luc said and glanced briefly at Alec. ‘I’m sure Alec has explained to you the situation we would like to avoid. Ensuring your safety is our priority.’ There was the slightest hint of the French accent I’d noticed at our first meeting.
‘I understand,’ I said.
‘Let’s go in.’ He tucked my arm into his so I was sandwiched between him and Alec.
Luc led us through the house, but there was no time to stop and admire the amazing interior. A marble staircase led to an upper floor, before dividing into two separate wings. Above us loomed stone arches, balanced on pedestals in the shape of sculpted angels, and stencilled images of griffins, dragons and other medieval mythological creatures decorated the walls. Our footsteps echoed on the white marbled floor, which was here and there interspersed with boldly coloured Victorian tiles featuring scrolls, fleur-de-lis and acanthus leaves.
*   *   *

Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the Dantonville world.
Bloodgifted is due for release as a paperback on Amazon early October, and as an ebook three weeks later.
But, it's already available on Smashwords.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Where Do Vampires Reside in Sydney? Let Me Show You!

In celebration of the release of BLOODGIFTED, on Amazon next week (end of September), I decided that my next few posts will concentrate on the beautiful Sydney locations highlighted in my book - the old Gothic buildings which dot the centre of the city, our stunning harbour setting, the river walks alongside the giant fig trees (and their resident fruit bats), and of course, the magnificent neo-gothic mansion which served as my inspiration for the home of Lucien Lebrettan, Prime Elder of the Vampiric Brethren. 
Sydneysiders will immediately recognise these places, and for those who have not visited yet, consider this a foretaste.
As a tasty accompaniment, I'll include excerpts from my book which describe these places, and which will hopefully, create an appetite to find out more. 
I'm calling these, Tasty Teasers. And since this is my blog, it's the best place to both promote my new book as well as showcase my city to the world.
So, without more ado, here's -

Tasty Teaser #1 is where our heroine, Laura, is sent to St Andrews Cathedral to meet Alec Munro - Princeps or Chief Elder - of the Brethren. 

I pushed open the heavy glass doors and stepped into the cool, dark recess. The scent of old polished wood rose from the rows of pews stretching the length of the nave. To my left, a well-worn stone-paved path led past them and through the length of the interior, while a shallow ramp on my right disappeared into a semi-concealed alcove ringed with high-backed wooden chairs.
Which way? If in doubt, follow the yellow-brick road, I thought. Turning left I followed the stone-path down the aisle. What on earth am I doing here? I asked myself. Meeting a vampire, came the daft answer.
‘He will find you,’ my aunt had said. Right now, I didn’t know if I wanted to be found! The truth is, I was nervous and even a little afraid searching for an unnatural creature in a gothic building.
How appropriate. All I need is for the cathedral organ to start playing creepy music!
At least I wasn’t totally alone. Here and there a few people milled around, even though most were outside grabbing that last minute Christmas bargain as shopping hours had been extended. It was only about nine p.m. In the balcony at the end of the nave a choir was rehearsing The Messiah. I’m sure they’d hear me scream if this Alec Munro proved less benign than the impression my aunt gave. Why didn’t I bring Matt? I should have simply ignored her warning and dragged him along anyway.
I followed the stone-path to the back entrance, around the massive sandstone baptismal font and up the other side. Every now and then the Choir Master stopped the singers mid-note for a correction before continuing their rehearsal. Three Christmas trees, bedecked with massive gold bows, had been positioned on either side of the communion table, while an impressive green wreath hung from the edge of the elevated pulpit.
I realized that the stone path I’d followed led to the small chair-lined alcove I’d originally noticed on entering. It was separated from the aisle by an ornately carved wooden partition, and there, leaning nonchalantly against the narrow opening, arms crossed over his chest stood a tall, broad-shouldered, impossibly good-looking man with hair the colour of a raven’s wing.
My feet stopped mid-stride as my eyes drank in this strikingly imposing figure who so dominated the space around him, that I wondered how I could not have seen him earlier? Nor the way his piercing lavender eyes gazed back at me, demanding my attention.
I sucked in a breath, not just for the affect he had on me, but that he was the visual confirmation of my aunt’s words even if he didn’t fit my image of a vampire. But then I really didn’t know what to expect – black cape, nasty protruding fangs, glowing red eyes and as pale as death perhaps? The man before me belied those preconceptions, and no vampire I saw in the movies ever looked that good in cream silk business shirt and slate grey trousers, which hung seductively low on his lean hips. His sleeves were rolled up at the elbows and the top button of his shirt left undone allowing his tie to hang loose.
I swallowed. Was this the blood-sucking creature whose bite left those marks on my aunt’s wrist? No wonder she’d said I wouldn’t mind!
He smiled and softly called my name. ‘Laura.’

If you'd like to see a pic of Alec and Laura, click onto "Home."
Did this whet your appetite?
Next week - Lucien Lebrettan's mansion (Location of the Ritual Laura must undergo).

Monday, 9 September 2013

Smashwords vs Amazon Survey Results

Thank you to all the people who participated in my little survey. Here are the results:

- 75% of authors said their best sales came from Amazon

- 25% mentioned other sources

- 0% had sales from Smashwords

I'll let you decide. As for me? I've sold several books on Smashwords already and it's only been out four weeks. They've distributed my book onto KOBO and Barnes and Noble. But, I've yet to see it on Sony and the Apple iTunes store. I'll give it another week.

In the meantime, I'll stick to them and once my book is available on Amazon (in two weeks) it'll have an even greater distribution, and hopefully more sales.