Saturday, 25 March 2017

59. Creative Ventures

I’m beginning to think there’s been a bit of a conspiracy happening since I left my home town. Two exciting events that I would love to have attended, have been organised whilst I’m ‘way’ over on the other side of the continent.

There’s some talented writers, singers, actors, dancers, and film makers back in Central Queensland, and wouldn’t you know it, Mr Luke Graham, the producer behind locally filmed hit movie, ‘Broke’, (featured here - along with the Capricorn Film festival cohort organised a get together recently to give all those talented people a chance to meet. Can you imagine it? Writers sharing stories with the actors, singers, and dancers who could bring those words to life, and then an opportunity for film students to capture those moments – what a learning experience. How exciting to be involved in it all, even if it’s just to meet like-minded people and share one’s creative inspirations. They’re planning another gettogether in a few weeks so I’ll be experiencing the meetings vicariously through friends. Isn’t that right, friends? :)

The other event is a Pop Con in my hometown on April first featuring regional authors, Sue-Ellen Pashley, and Shelley Russell Nolan. I’ve enjoyed reading books from both these authors so I know attendees will be meeting some very talented ladies on the day and hopefully there’s be more local writers joining them. Learn more here - because there’s plenty to keep the fantasy fans, young and old, in all formats happy.

I shouldn’t be too sad. There’s an OZ Comic Con coming to Perth that I just may make, if I feel I can brave the crowds.

After all, fantasy writer Isobelle Carmody, who hosted an excellent workshop in my local area a couple of years ago, (featured here - will be there along with a rather charming English actor/musician, Arthur Darvill. I know, I’m letting my inner Doctor Who / DC Legends of Tomorrow geekiness shine through, but you know the drill – fictional characters and all that. ;) And speaking of fictional characters. :)

Book Reviews

Numbers and the TangoA contemporary romance with a hint of suspense.

A dance lesson and a white lie bring two lonely souls from different worlds together.

Derek Durrant, mathematical genius and respected actuary, has a heart of gold but his tragic childhood has left him shy, socially awkward and prisoner to his world of numbers and certainty.

Passionately beautiful Tango instructor, Alessandra Aquilar, lives in the shadows of her dark and dangerous past. Fear makes her keep everyone at bay.

When they meet through Tango, neither can deny the strong emotions the dance brings to life. But can Tango empower Derek to find the courage to confess his love to Alessandra? And can Alessandra return the love and kindness the enigmatic Derek shows her, or will threats from her past return to destroy her future happiness?

Awkward and shy, mathematical genius, Derek Durrant, is comfortable with the numbers on his computer screen, not so the feminine figures that fill in his workplace. On a whim, his secretary decides to force her boss out of his comfort zone by enrolling him in dancing lessons. And what better way to do that than to learn one of the most passionate dances – the tango. Derek is determined to walk right out again, but something about the beautiful, yet mysterious, dance teacher makes him stay. It doesn’t take long for him to realise that ‘dancing by numbers’ can lead to so much more.

Feisty and fiercely independent, Alessandra finds serenity and an overwhelming desire to claim not only the protective aura the shy Derek projects, but everything else he’s offering. His heart is there for the taking. A pity then, that darkness has followed her from her homeland and threatens not only their budding happiness, but their very lives.

MC Dalton’s debut novella is as passionate as you’d expect a tango story to be. The stakes are high, the suspense verging on nail biting, and the romance is a dance all its own. I enjoyed Derek’s quiet, inner strength in contrast to the wildfire that was Alessandra. The sparks flew in more ways than one. You can learn more about Ms Dalton here.

Twitter @mcdalton76

The Warden and the Shadow Queen – Book 3 of the Warden Saga.

Anna slips further away from Finn, and looks doomed to fall into darkness. Her fate is in his hands. To save her, he must travel across the sea, storm a castle, battle an insane enemy, and a horde of undead soldiers.

All the while, the ancient order of mages scheme in the background. Their ambition for power threatens to cover the land in death and darkness. Can Finn stop the horrors their magic unleashes in time?

Will he finally discover the secrets of the Black Sword? And why does it thirst for blood? 

Imprisoned, half-starved, and despairing, Anna’s hopes of rescue are fading fast. Finn and his promise to save her seems a lifetime ago. Instead, her enemies are gaining ground and weaving their dark magic. Not even the promise of death can give her salvation from the horrors to come.

Desperate, and half mad with the thought of failing not only his love, but also his entire Eldon race, Finn feels the pressure to rescue Anna from her fate. The black sword leads him ever onwards, but not even Finn truly understands how he, Anna, and the wicked-sharp blade’s futures are entwined.

Mr Summerhayes excels at fight scenes and book three was no different when it came to sword fights, demon wrangling, utilising his characters’ thirst for revenge and their desire to prevail over great odds. The growing inner strength, maturity, and self-discovery of main characters, Finn and Anna, was evident in the way they handled adversity. Villainy abounded, curses flew, and dark magic, well, dark magic did what it does best - left the reader wanting more. :)

Author Interview

Mr Summerhayes also kindly agreed to answer a few ‘intense’ writing questions. ;)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Like most writers, I wrote or told stories from an early age. It was always my dream to be an author and create worlds.

In 2015, I wrote freelance for a gaming company, and saw my name in a printed book – it was then I started thinking that I may just be a writer, and that’s when I decided to take my hobby more serious. I now have five stories in print.

Do you have support from family and friends?
My family and friends have always given me encouragement – which initially surprised me. Writing is a lonely pursuit, and if your family gives you the time and space to write, that is often all the support a writer needs. Thankfully, nobody has told me to forget writing and get a real job.

Do you have a particular writing style?
That’s a hard question as writing styles are subjective to the individual reader. We all interpret stories slightly differently, based on our own likes or dislikes.
My aim is to write adventure stories, with protagonists who develop and grow as the story unfolds. Most of my stories contain a young protagonist, and would be classified as YA (but not all). I like YA as the young protagonist has room to grow and learn who they are as the story unfolds.

What are your favourite story writing genres and authors and what draws you to them?
I like many genres; Sci-fi, Mysteries, Horror, Westerns, but Fantasy, and Sword and Sorcery have always been my favourites.

I grew up reading JRR Tolkien (he taught me to day dream), Gene Wolf, Frank Herbert, Edger Rice Borroughs, Dragonlance, and Robert E Howard’s Conan novels. I prefer stories with a fast-paced storyline with heaps of action – I am currently enjoying Joe Abercrombie’s style of writing.

What inspired you to write the Warden Saga?
I was inspired to write about Finn and his friends because of my love of the Fantasy genre. Growing up, I always day-dreamed stories of wizard and dragons, and now as an adult (I use that term loosely) I get to write about them! We write stories that we love to read.

Can you tell us what are you working on at the minute?
I don’t like talking about a book before it’s finished - I guess I’m secretive. All I will say is that it’s a Fantasy story with a dystopian twist. It’s over half written and I’m excited to see it published soon. I am aiming for a May-June release date and it’s the start of a new series.

Don’t worry Warden Saga readers, I will return to wardens soon.

How much research do you do?
I do as much research as a story requires. For example, many of the languages in the Warden Saga are modified present day languages (German, Nordic etc.) and the same with the food – mostly traditional German food.

When I wrote the background stories for The Devil’s Run board game, I researched bikie gang structures, military and civilian weapons, nuclear fallout, and studied maps of western USA, where the game takes place. Looking back now, a lot of research went into those stories.

Do you have a writing routine?
Yes. Finishing a story is all about routine, and I try to write every day. Unfortunately, I’m not productive at night, so that’s when I do marketing or social media.

Do you ever get writer’s block and if so, how do you get through it?
I haven’t had writer’s block (I personally don’t believe it’s a real thing). I have been stuck, deciding which way to take a story, but the more I plan a story prior to starting the less I have this issue. When you are ‘stuck’, stop writing and plot out your next few scenes or chapters. You’ll find in a few hours (or days) you’ll have the creative juices flowing again.

What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m currently reading Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Before They Are Hanged’, the second book of The First Law series. I really enjoy his writing style and how he weaves a story with both intrigue and action – it’s highly recommended.

Do you edit as you go or finish the story first?
I write the story first and then go over it several times. The story changes slightly during each draft, as I add in new information or tweak a plot line. After I’ve written a few drafts and I’m happy with the story flow, I send it to my editor for the final polish.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write every day. There is no other secret to completing a story.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I spend time with my family; going to the kids’ sports and school activities. I like to unwind by reading or watching movies or TV series. I am also restoring an old car in my shed, which I hope to finish by the end of the year.

What do you think makes a good story?
For me, a good book either contains interesting characters that I want to know more about, or the story is just fun. As I read for entertainment, if it’s not interesting I will stop and read something else.

If you write more than one genre, how do you balance them?
I don’t have a problem writing in different genres and I find it’s actually fun. It gives you a break from your main genre. I wouldn’t want to write two different genre stories at the same time though – that would be too hard.

Last year, while I edited one of my fantasy novels, I also wrote a post-apocalyptic novella for a board game with no issues.

Are you a plotter, panster or a combination of both?
I do both. I plan out all of the main characters and all the key plot points for the whole story and then start writing. I often change things as I write with only the start and end of the story normally remaining unchanged. If I get stuck, it means I need to do more planning.

What question do you wish someone would ask, but no one ever has?
I wish someone would ask me to write an official Conan the Barbarian novel! That’s one of my childhood dreams.

Any writing rituals / superstitions?
Yes! I always write wearing my lucky hat!
Actually, no superstitions or rituals. I know that’s boring. Sorry.

How did you deal with rejection letters (if you had any?)
I’ve not had a rejection letter from a publisher before as I am an indie author. Be your own boss!
I have written in IP’s which were not mine, and I also have a story in a paranormal anthology. If you’re writing for another person, get all the information you can. It’s a great experience to work outside your comfort zone. Give it a go. You might just learn something about yourself.

Thank you so much for your time, Paul. :)


The goals – I’m down to the last chapter and then the novella is finished. Then there’s the editing, so it’s going to hide in a corner for a little while until I can look at it with fresh eyes. And while it’s glaring at me from my peripheral vision, I’ll start editing another novella with which I have a definite publisher in mind. Scary stuff! :)

Alas, no luck with the short story competition as far as a place is concerned; I just missed out there. Oh, but the feedback was brilliant. I know I’m onto a good story here considering all three judges wanted more, so it’s something I can build upon and feel confident in sharing. That’s a win in my books. :) (pun SO intended) ;) I’ll have news on that in a few months. Still have my schedule to get through first.

Back to writing, reading, (and perhaps Comic Con-ing) for me. I hope you’re making time to do the things that inspire you too. :)


  1. Oh, D.D., what a shame about the events at home! Still, it will be something if you end up going to Comic Con (do you have to dress up? LOL). I'm disappointed for you with the Little Gems but it sounds as though you have plans for that story and your novella, so I'll keep my fingers crossed. :)

    1. LOL For now I will say my dress up days are long behind me, but never say never.

      A friend went today, but she hasn't told me how busy it was. She did see Arthur Darvill on a panel chat though. I'm envious.

      Thank you for the sympathy re Little Gems. Very positive about my idea and having feedback to confirm it was a great boost. Appreciate any finger crossing in my direction. :) And likewise for your next book(s). :)

  2. The conspiracy of creative ventures. D.D, you have so much creativity going on. I enjoyed your review of Numbers & Tango. Shy Derek with inner strength is a refreshing hero. Absolutely good news that the judges wanted to read more of your story. Best wishes with sending your story to the publishers. So there will be more news of your Tango story soon. Yippee!

    1. Hi Ashlyn - if only I could be in two places at once. :)

      Pleased you enjoyed the review. I liked MC's quiet, shy hero too.

      Yes, the tango with the sagging middle is almost done. LOL Then it's on the the next 'fix'. :)

  3. Woohoo! The novella's nearly done - and it's exciting to hear that you're writing the next one with a definite publisher in mind. Watch out, world!

    Good feedback - feedback that they want MORE - is gold. It's a bummer that your story didn't fit with whatever the judges wanted for the antho, but it's way cool that they wanted more from your story. You hooked 'em!

    1. Nearly, but a long time coming. I am nowhere near your writing speed (or ability.) :) Hopefully all will go well for the publisher I'm stalking, I mean, coveting, too.

      Definitely GOLD, but I knew I was onto something 'bright and shiny' when I told you my idea and you said you loved it (as well as giving me pointers on how to improve it.) :) THANK YOU!