The Bee Man

The Australian native teddy-bear bee photographed by Erica Siegel. From https://www.aussiebee.com.au

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been fascinated by an older man who potters past the station in the late afternoons, wearing a floppy khaki hate and carrying a fine mesh butterfly net.

Recently I managed to speak to him and discovered that he was (1) French and (2) an expert on Australian Native bees.  Apparently Royal Park has 90 (yes 90!!, I queried this figure at the time) different species of native bee and now the flowers were coming out he was hoping to find some of them active.

He’d been disappointed so far though.  The ground was too cold still and the bees weren’t interested in the wattle trees that are bursting goldenly into bloom on all sides.  Which makes sense because wattle trees are wind pollinated (and wildly hayfever causing as many of us know to our cost) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2018/oct/29/bees-of-australia-up-close-with-native-species-in-pictures?ut

 

I’m on tour (virtually)

The fine people at Goddess Fish promotions have organized this virtual book blog tour and here are the places and dates.  Looking forward to meeting lots of readers.

There’s a $25 dollar Amazon to be drawn and won by one lucky commenter.

So do yourself a favour!!

 

June 25: Mythical Books
June 25: Straight From the Library
June 26: Kit ‘N Kabookle
June 26: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin’
June 27: Rogue’s Angels
June 27: Fabulous and Brunette
June 28: T’s Stuff
June 28: Author Deborah A Bailey
June 29: Edgar’s Books
June 29: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
July 9: The Reading Addict
July 9: fundinmental
July 10: Deal Sharing Aunt
July 10: Jazzy Book Reviews
July 11: Thorntonberry Shire Press
July 11: Sapphyria’s Books
July 12: Long and Short Reviews
July 12: Author C.A.Milson
July 13: Locks, Hooks and Books – review
July 13: Sharing Links and Wisdom

 

New Book coming!! The Melded Child

The new novel of the Archipelago and the Tari.

Coming out April 7

In Print on Demand from Bernarra Press through Amazon and in ebook from Clan Destine Press

 

An ancient prophecy has come to pass.

The peace negotiated by the Tari has held firm for ten years, but a new Demon Master is rising.

When Yani the Raven is kidnapped, sorceress Marigoth and her companion Ezratah are drawn into a trap set by a brutal necromancer and his insane sister.

Meanwhile Elena Starchild’s daughter Alyx, heir to the throne of the Mori, finds herself wounded and on the run in a forest full of dark magic; and in the company of her bitter enemy.

Can the insular Tari, dreaming in the secret land of Ermora, be awoken before the demon fire consumes them?

And can a Melded Child bring harmony before it is too late?

 

Woo Hoo! I got me some representation

Today I am one very happy Author.  I’ve been signed to the John Jarrold Literary Agency in the U.K which I hope will make selling future books so much easier.  Hoooray!  Woo Hoo!  Squee! and other delighted noises.

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Here’s John’s Press Release.

PRESS RELEASE –  JOHN JARROLD LITERARY AGENCY TO REPRESENT AWARD-WINNING AUSTRALIAN FANTASY AUTHOR JANE ROUTLEY

 

The John Jarrold Literary Agency now represents Australian fantasy novelist Jane Routley. Jane has won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel twice – for Aramaya and Fire Angels. Her story “To Avalon” was nominated for a both an Aurealis and Ditmar Award.

 

Jane’s new novel, Shadow in the Empire of Light, is Fantasy meets Chick Lit, with a touch of Steampunk.  Shine, the heroine of the novel is an orphan without magical gifts in a powerful family of mages. She is stuck in the country managing the family estates with only an eccentric aunt and a telepathic cat for company.  The Family are descending on the house for the annual Fertility Festival. While helping one cousin find a compromising letter and rescuing another male cousin from an unwelcome alliance, Shine stumbles on a murderous plot to depose the current Family Matriarch and a smuggling ring that puts her life in danger. Soon she is forced to run for her life through an enchanted forest full of magic  and wild cats.  It’s the first in a three-book series.

“Jane’s writing has wit and immediacy – and a strong soupcon of darkness,” said John Jarrold. “I enjoyed this novel immensely, was totally involved, and love her characters and setting.”

Contact John Jarrold for further information:

John Jarrold: e-mail: j.jarrold@btinternet.com  phone: 01797 227426.

 

photo courtesy of Trudi Canavan

photo courtesy of Trudi Canavan

 

Guess what I did on my holidays!

Sorry for the sudden silence.  I’ve been up north in Townsville, Queensland, chasing the sun.  While there went on the best whale watching trip. Really enjoyed zooming around the place in a little rubber boat (150hp RIB) and the guide Chris knew all about the reef and other Marine type things and was happy to answer lots of questions.  Lunch at Yanks Jetty was subway sandwiches and a chance to float around the coral gardens teaming with fish. So many colourful fish it was like swimming in a jewel box. But the whales! The waters between Dungeness and Orpheus were full of humpbacks.  We sighted at least 14 and one breached (leapt up into the air).  I was so excited I took a picture of my thumb, but fortunately Chris took a successful one and was happy to share.  We were late home because we got caught up watching about eight whales taking part in a jostling head butting rumble.  You couldn’t see much of the action, but every now and again groups of three or four would surface in an exciting flurry of fins, tails and spouts or you could see a couple swimming in close formation.  A fantastic sight and well worth missing my homeward icecream for.  Whales5

Clench!

One of my regulars, a lady in her early 60’s, is always telling me about her exercise regime.  Apparently these exercises, relayed to her father by a Chinese doctor, have cured her of leukemia.  Her skin has the yellowish tone of someone who’s very ill.

Her exercise regime is to do two thousand arm swings every day.  They’re exactly like the hundred arms exercise in Pilates only standing up.  I don’t blame her for being obsessed, but sometimes when I see her outside the station swinging her arms, I suddenly think of something I have to do in the office. I‘ve known her to miss trains because she hasn’t reached two thousand yet.

Being so ill must be a lonely business.  So today I’m listening and so are a couple of social workers up from the hospital waiting to catch the train who want to hear all about this life saving exercise.

“Clench your bottom,” cries the lady. “And tuck in your belly.  Clench your bottom and swing your arms.”

Such is the authority in her voice that I see the social workers begin to swing their arms and, I suspect, clench their bottoms.  Oh no!  I’m doing it too.  As the train rolls in, there are the four of us swinging our arms in the autumn sun while the lady yells “clench your bottom.”

I see less of M and C now but this is a good thing. An NGO has found them a place to live.  http://www.hanover.org.au/

C is pregnant and I had terrible visions of them being homeless with a newborn. I suspect they did too – though they made tough noises about it. M is delighted with his new backpack and wears it everywhere.  A profound thank you to the people who offered them.

 

Interview with Michael O’Brien – Vice President of Chaosium Games

 

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I’ve always loved Chaosium games – the rich cultural backdrop of Runequest and the dark gothic horror of Call of Cthulhu. Most of my roleplaying has been done in these two worlds. I was thrilled to discover a friend has become part of a new management team to reinvigorate the Company.


Michael O’Brien, could you tell us about the history and products of Chaosium, Inc?

Chaosium is an iconic company in roleplaying games – it’s one of the oldest publishers still around (founded in 1975), and has had a long track record of publishing interesting, innovative and often ground breaking material in tabletop gaming.

Chaosium’s most famous product lines are Call of Cthulhu, the horror investigation game set in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, and the fantasy RPG RuneQuest. Both games were and still are pretty revolutionary in their approach. RuneQuest changed the paradigm of fantasy RPGs by having a gritty, realistic combat system where even a mighty warrior could be felled by a lucky bowshot (an outcome that becomes increasingly impossible in level-based games like Dungeons & Dragons). It is also set in Greg Stafford’s richly-imagined campaign world of Glorantha. Call of Cthulhu is of course distinctive because it’s the one RPG where characters who are librarians and the like are the heroes.

We’ve just published the seventh edition of Call of Cthulhu, and are bringing out a new edition of RuneQuest later this year.

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One of the things I love about Chaosium games is that they seem to be founded on the idea of Order versus Chaos. Would you say this is true and do you agree that this is a more palatable world view to the modern player than the idea of good versus evil?

The RuneQuest RPG deliberately eschewed the concept that the player characters are “good” and the monsters they encounter are necessarily “evil”.  In his earliest published adventures, Greg Stafford pointed out to Game Masters that if the adventurers turn and flee screaming, to not forget that the monsters get experience rolls too. In other words, the creatures they encounter have their own lives, motivations and connections, and intelligent ones have societies and cultures. This was ground breaking stuff in the early days of RPG, where even “good” characters seemed to just go round a dungeon killing monsters and taking their stuff.

“Chaosium” itself gets its name from the Oakland Coliseum, which wasn’t far from where Greg Stafford was living at a particularly chaotic time in his life. I look after our newsletter “Ab Chaos”, which includes the note (originally written by Greg) that it is “planned to be informal and irregular: we are, after all, not the Orderium”.
How does an Australian come to be Vice–President of Chaosium, an American games company?

Chaosium has always been something of a boutique company, and has come close to financial disaster several times in its long history. I, and several colleagues from Moon Design Publications, came on board at Chaosium mid-last year to help the company out of its latest troubles. This stemmed from two Kickstarters that had been badly mismanaged. A recent article at Geek & Sundry (with the clickbaity title “Cthulhu Company Kickstarted Itself to Death, Then This Happened”) tells the tale of how we turned things around, if anyone wants more detail: http://geekandsundry.com/cthulhu-company-kickstarted-itself-to-death-then-this-happened

Was Moon Design Publications set up especially for Chaosium?

Moon Design Publications is a company set up by my colleague Rick Meints in the mid-1990s, which began by reissuing RuneQuest material under license. Later Moon Design actually acquired the rights to the game RuneQuest and world of Glorantha from Greg Stafford, and in 2015 won the Diana Jones Award, one of the gaming industry’s highest accolades, for the coffee-table book The Guide to Glorantha.

Moon Design consists of Rick, who lives in Ann Arbor Michigan; Jeff Richard, who is American but lives in Berlin; Neil Robinson, who is originally from Canada, but lives in Seattle; and myself, in Melbourne, Australia (although I lived in the Middle East for many years until recently). We first met at games conventions in the UK.

I gather some of Chaosium’s founding fathers have returned with your team.

Yes, Greg Stafford and Sandy Petersen returned to lead in the company in June last year in an announcement titled “The Great Old Ones have Returned…” They were both shareholders before this, but had not been actively involved for many years.

Greg said he was “puttin’ the band back together” – and four of us in Moon Design later came on board both as part-owners and as the new management of the company. We have known and collaborated with Greg and Sandy on creative projects for many years. (I first met them in the mid-1980’s). Sandy cheerfully greeted this with the statement “I for one welcome our new Lunar overlords”. He and Greg are now members of the company board (Greg is chair) and creative consultants to the company, but day-to-day management is in our hands. Our first priority was sorting out the Call of Cthulhu Kickstarter.

 

StaffPick RQ

Tell us about the latest Kickstarter campaign.

It was a lot of work (and money) turning the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter around, but backers have just started receiving their books, three years after the Kickstarter was launched. In contrast, last December we ran another Kickstarter to reissue RuneQuest 2nd Edition. Unlike the protracted Call of Cthulhu debacle, we had the rewards printed and ready for shipping in just over three months. We thought this was a very practical and capable way of instilling confidence in our fans that the new management of Chaosium is doing things very differently to the old.

Do you write or hope to write as well as manage?

I am involved in the creative side of the company, as well as being part of the management team. At the moment I’m working on a couple of board games which we’ll be releasing later this year, and have a hand in some projects for Call of Cthulhu and the new edition of RuneQuest.

Are there any opportunities for writers to become involved? 

Certainly! We are not currently taking submissions at the moment while we review our processes, but this will soon change. We’ll be actively seeking out writers for our fiction line, as well as the game lines we support.

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Can you tell us about any future plans for Chaosium Inc.?

I definitely think we’ve turned the corner and the future is looking bright for Chaosium – among other things, this year we are launching the new edition of RuneQuest (and even have original author Steve Perrin back on board with the writing team, along with Ken Rolston), are partnering with Sandy Petersen’s own game company to bring out The Gods War, a sequel of sorts to his Cthulhu Wars, set in Glorantha, and German games mastermind Reiner Knizia is working with us to bring out two new board games. This is in addition to the production schedule for new Call of Cthulhu stuff, Jim Lowder‘s sterling efforts as our consulting editor to restore the fortunes of the Chaosium fiction line, and our recently-launched Organized Play program.

Chaosium website: http://www.chaosium.com

Michael O’Brien also hosts a Podcast @

Tales of Mythic Adventure Podcast: http://www.glorantha.com/mythicadventure

MOB headshot

 

 

 

 

50 % off -The Foolish April Book Sale

Clan Destine Press – My Publishers –  are having a 50% off everything book sale.

Check out all the great Australian Genre Fiction.

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Escape!

A good book can take you right out of here

 into a multitude of worlds, both real and imagined…

Clan Destine Press wants to tempt you into some of those worlds with

a 50% OFF BOOK SALE! 

We want to spark your imagination by applying that

50% SALE to

ALL OUR BOOKS

CLICK THIS LINK TO EVERYTHING WE PUBLISH

 

 

My publishers

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The wonderful Russell B. Farr and Liz Grzyb aka Ticonderoga Publications showing off The Dion Chronicles by  yours truly at Swancon

http://ticonderogapublications.com/web/index.php

http://www.indiebooksonline.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/125

Many thanks for the photo Michael O’Brien