Book Week 2019

Untitled-201This week is Book Week in Australia. I was blessed to grow up in a house of books, where the written word was not only respected but adored. Thanks to my mother, I was a gifted reader before I started school so I flourished amongst the library books that I could now get from two libraries (local and school) and the all-important book catalogues. Not sure if that last sentence ages me but Lucky, Arrow and Star were words that sent my heart soaring. My mum managed to get my teachers to get me all three catalogues even in Year 1 and 2 (they were for different ages) and I’d beg for books from all three. My first set in Year 1 was the Narnia box set which is long gone, water damaged when I was about 10 and replaced about five years later, reuniting me with Aslan.

68900118_10218574826057757_8662010796131221504_nAnd then I discovered Book Week. Books AND costumes? My dreams had come true. I did Bo-Peep, a space captain, a witch, a clown… so many costumes. And I was blessed with a mum who could sew and be crafty, so I had a ball.

Book Week was established in 1945 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. It was “founded at a time when Australian children’s books were few, and Australian authors and illustrators were virtually unknown. In 1946 the CBCA established annual book awards to promote books of high literary and artistic quality. These awards are now the most influential and highly respected in Australia.”1

69343321_10162126131280246_1562037218522955776_nAs an author and illustrator, I look back and realise the Book Week was such a huge part in my journey to becoming who I am today, with the encouragement of my book-loving mother, by instilling joy in reading. The yearly themes were never important (although I happily used them for costume ideas) but seeing my school come to life in a flurry of colour and excitement over books, my favourite thing in the world, kept the storyteller and artist inside me alive.

69085983_10158742077684838_3351838610042126336_nNow I see a new generation of kids (and amazing teachers) embracing Book Week, through my friends’ kids and my nephew and nieces. Watching the new generation of readers embracing books with two hands and enjoying the written word makes me so happy. I don’t have kids of my own but I try to inspire the same love of books in my nieces and nephew, who all have amazing imaginations and artistic flair. I hope that they hold on to the love of stories, the love of books, long into their futures.

69304381_10158742077734838_4217684195641655296_nTo anyone out there with kids, READ to your children. Make them excited for books. Make them want to go on adventures in Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Hundred Acre Woods, Neverland and all the magical places they can escape to, even if its on a screen, reading is reading. But if you can, this Book Week, celebrate the joy of the written words and all the places that it can take them, and yourself.

69336632_365404761057342_3072699928036769792_nAll pictures here are courtesy of, and with permission from, parents I know and love and their kids, and there’s even a few of me.

~Sabrina

You can find out more about Sabrina RG Raven at her websiteFacebook or Instagram and her books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

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 1 http://www.cbca.org.au/about

5 Reasons to Love Your Bookshop!

downloadToday is Love Your Bookshop Day. In the age of Amazon and deliveries it’s a sad reality that bookshops are a dying breed, but we here at Ouroborus books still love them. They’re among our favourite places to go. We believe that they’ll always have a place in the world, even if there aren’t quite so many of them as once there were. Here are some of the reasons bookshops still hold a special place in our hearts.

Local Authors

This one’s a little bit self-serving but it’s true too. Local bookshops will often generously agree to stock local authors that may not get as much exposure in other ways. These are titles you won’t necessarily find on Amazon – they’re there of course, but they’re buried under the weight of other books from around the world. So show a little local pride, head down to your bookshop and see if there are any hidden talents in your hometown. If you happen to be based in Brisbane, you might even find us.

Special Events

This one doesn’t happen so much in the bigger places like Dymocks but local bookshops have had to get clever to keep up. To that end they’ve developed a host of activities you can attend. From programs designed to get kids into reading, to interviews and signings with local authors. There’s even the occasional event for people who are looking to get into writing if you’re interested. Look up your local bookshop on Facebook and you can see what they have going on. You might find a good way to spend the afternoon.

Browsing

Some of the best books I ever found, I picked up off a shelf. While you can browse on Amazon, taking the time to get out there and go through actual books can be really rewarding and allow you to emerge with some hidden gem that just managed to grab your attention. There are also recommendations from the booklovers who work there and the opportunity to check out some books you wouldn’t normally look at, just because you’re there. Amazon only shows you things you already knew you wanted, bookshops will have something new and interesting for you.

Other Booklovers

I know the idea of talking to people is frightening for us indoorsy types but some of the best connections I’ve made I’ve made in bookshops. Seeing people who like to read the same things you do, giving recommendations to someone you see looking at something you’ve already read or meeting at one of the aforementioned events are all good ways to get to know more people who like to read, which are one of our favourite kinds of people. Be daring and strike up a conversation with someone at your local bookshop, it might be rewarding.

A Retreat

Somewhere quiet to go away from the world is a valuable resource these days. Your average bookshop is a quiet, fairly cosy place out of the hustle and bustle of daily life where, by and large, they don’t mind you taking some time out to read your latest purchase without being bothered by day to day life. Some of them will even sell coffee and snacks while you do it.

We love our local bookshops and we think you will too. Give the old brick and mortar stores a chance and they might just surprise you with how nice an experience it can be.

You can follow Robert J Barlow on Facebook and find his books The Laughing Man and The Spinning Sister in our online bookstore.

Roleplay as Writing Practice

Related imageMy whole life I’ve been into role playing games. It started in primary school playing Dungeons and Dragons in the library. We didn’t have dice or character sheets; all we had was the DM and a few friends and he would tell us if we succeeded or failed. That got old quickly as we had no idea what we were doing. Fast forward a few years and I meet Tom in high school who played D&D, Star Wars, ShadowRun and others every Friday night at the spare buildings at the Darwin University. We played D&D occasionally, but mostly Star Wars. I did that for a few years until I sort of got over it and started playing guitar and playing in a band. The whole time I played, up til that point, I had no idea what I was doing. No one told me how the game was played, and I never asked. I brought the ShadowRun core book, but it was far too confusing to work out. I didn’t play for about 10-12 years after that.

I moved to Brisbane and joined a roller derby league. I started talking to the merchandise guy, who said he’d been playing D&D for about 20 years and still did from time to time. After wrangling a few others in, we started a monthly session that’s now been running for over 5 years. We play Pathfinder, which is identical to D&D’s 3.5 edition. Last year Pathfinder created a new book that was Pathfinder in space called Starfinder. I instantly gravitated towards it. I bought the book, read the rules, watched hours and hours of YouTube videos about how to play it. I wrote my own campaign, which took weeks. I then drew all my own maps and got everything ready to run it. When the day came, I was nervous. I really enjoyed writing it, because it was different than writing a script or a book.

Image result for pathfinder dndAfter the game was done and everyone went home, I really didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t work out what it was. The design aspect was great, the writing of it was great, but running it was not fun for me. I wasn’t sure where I went wrong. So, I figured I would just be a playing character, instead of a dungeon master from now on. Then I started to notice that I was interested in the new D&D 5th edition. I’m not sure why, but I felt magnetized to it. I went to my local gaming shop and bought the core book. I read it, and watched some YouTube videos, read some blogs and noticed it had similarities to Pathfinder. I began writing a new campaign, learning from my mistakes and expectations from the Starfinder story. I was going to be less railroading and more sandbox. I think I had a direct line I wanted the players to walk, but role playing doesn’t work like that. You have to present a situation, then let them decide what they want to do, and improvise the rest. So, I gathered a few fresh newbies who had never played before, but wanted to, and I ran it. I really enjoyed it. I let them talk amongst themselves, I let them decide where and what they wanted to do and go.

The first campaign was 9 pages long and took 6 hours to play. I wrote the second one over a few weeks and it’s at 34 pages. I think because they were new, and I was new, we just worked out stuff as we went along. They fell for every trap I put out and I was inspired to write more. Writing role playing is so different from anything else. Being a writer, it makes it easier to describe the situation and the encounters, and I believe that is where the fun sits. They roll a dice to formulate the outcome, then I describe what happens off the top of my head.

With writing books, I get time to work on it, plan it, delete it, rewrite it, edit it, but with role playing you don’t. It’s off the cuff and exercises your mind. Good practice for writers.

~Mitchell

Mitchell is the author of Children of the Locomotive, Skellington KeyHeather Cassidy and the Magnificent Mr Harlow, and the Everdark Realms Trilogy

Visit Mitchell’s bio here

Interview with a Character: Make some Magic.

inner reflection coverFShe’s got a sweet smile and she’s wearing a school uniform when she walks into our studio. Loose hazelnut-brown hair hangs over a slight frame, and initially, she’s quiet, clearly waiting to be told where she should sit, like any kid dropped off in a strange place. In short, Anastasia Larson seems like a normal girl – amazing, what skill, talent, disposition and potential exists just beneath the surface of all of us. We took a moment recently to sit down with this fresh new hero to talk about her powers, her life, and her road ahead.

Interviewer: Hi, Anastasia. Thanks for making the time to see us today and talk to us. Are you missing any classes for this interview?

Anastasia: Hi, um. . . I actually am okay, for now. What time is it? Can we make this as quick as we can please?

Interviewer: Can you talk to us a bit about how you discovered your powers?

Anastasia: I really don’t want to talk about it, if that’s okay. I just got mad and now I dwell on it sometimes.

Interviewer: And what do your powers allow you to do?

Anastasia: I can control the weather and it’s linked to my emotions.

Interviewer: Tell the readers about your school and what you’ve been learning. It’s not your typical school, is it?

Anastasia: My school is mainstream, but, well, I’m starting to think that not everything is as it seems, not just in school but the whole town. I’m still new here. My school is called Opal Creek High School, and I’ve been learning Modern History, P.E. (which I don’t like at all) and Maths, oh and English of course.

Interviewer: I have to admit, you’re not what I expected! Do you get that a lot from people?

Anastasia: I don’t really know what people think of me. I’m not very sociable.

Interviewer: What are your main goals right now, and how do you feel about tackling them?

Anastasia: My main goal right now is to not be late for class. . . again. It’s the first time I’ve been late for anything EVER! My other goal is to find out how to control my powers and where they came from. And I want to plan out my goals as best as I can really.

Interviewer: There will be a lot of people reading this transcript who feel out of place, not up to scratch, disempowered, in all kinds of ways. You’re proving that difference is power! Wisdom often comes from the young – do you have any advice you want to give to your followers?

Anastasia: For people who have Asperger’s like me or anyone who has similar circumstances. My advice is to not listen to any of the bullies, because they are mean and in the end they get what’s coming to them. And also surround yourself with people who understand (I know it sounds silly, but it’s true) Thanks for interviewing me but I really need to get to class.

 

Anastasia is the main character of J.J. Fryer’s debut novel Inner Reflection, which you can purchase from our online store. The first chapters are available to read online for free on our blog. You can connect with J.J. Fryer on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about Anastasia and the series.

Meet the Author: Danica Peck

danicaNow in the middle of 2019, we’d like to take a day to celebrate the Ouroborus Books family’s middle child – not one of the first, and not one of the new kids, YA fantasy author Danica Peck is the generous, colourful and personable heart of our little press. Like her books, she brings an infectious level of fun and surprise to what can otherwise become a serious business. Her first series, Battles of Azriel, follows a cast of rebel queens and their struggles to reclaim their thrones in a dangerous parallel realm, and her upcoming works walk exciting lines between fantasy adventure and paranormal romance. Read on for our interview with Danica and follow the links to find her books and social media.

Tell us about yourself: My name is Danica and I write the stories my mind creates, because if I don’t put them on paper I may go insane. I’ve published two books and have countless stories waiting to be written. As long as I am always writing and travelling, I am satisfied on this planet.

Favourites

These are so hard to answer. Narrowing down to a favourite or even top five is near impossible.

Favourite book: Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, Arrival by Charlotte McConaghy and Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead

Favourite films: Perks of Being a Wallflower, Edge of 17, Love Actually, Breakfast Club, Set It Up

Favourite shows: Friends! Anything Joss Whedon! (Ah it’s too hard!! So many amazing shows?)

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite song: (current) False Confidence – Noah

Favourite bands: Halsey!! Queen, Michael Jackson, American Rejects

Favourite artist: Destiny Blue

Favourite sesame street character: Elmo

Favourite subject in school: Drama, English and Film

Favourite special place: The beach

Ideal holiday destination: Lapland, Russia, Egypt

Best birthday party: As long as I’m with those I love, it’s always the best

 Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Avocado, I know I’m weird. Raw fish – yuck! Brussel sprouts, like why?

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Crocs! Unfashionable mismatched clothes.

Fears: Spiders and getting old

Least favourite sport: Do burpees count?

A really annoying piece of advice: You’re still young, you’ll find someone

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 22!!

Favourite Avenger: Loki

Favourite Disney princess: Jasmine

Third favourite fictional character: Rose Hathaway

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Cookie dough, Nutella and strawberry ice-cream

A job you definitely wouldn’t have been suited for: Nun

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: Scrapbooking

The most attractive punctuation mark is: Semi colon

Best Skittle and jellybean flavour: Red skittle and toasted marshmallow jelly bean

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work? The story I’m currently working on was inspired by a dream

What genres do you read and write? Mostly fantasy and other worlds

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus? Three years ago

What do you hope people associate you with? Writing, travel and hippie!

Current work-in-progress: Amity

What can readers expect from you in future? Another four books in my series and a few standalones.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write? Arya. I created her when I was sixteen. If I’m going through a hard time so is she, when I’m healing same to her.

What upcoming or recently released Ouroborus book are you most eager to read and why? Shayla’s book 3. Need to know what happens!

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Hardcover

Chocolate or chips? Chocolate

DC or Marvel? Marvel

Blue ink or black? Blue ink

Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors

Spotless workspace or is there a desk under all that? There is a desk… somewhere

Coffee or tea? Tea

Connect with Danica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and find her books in the Ouroborus online store.

May the 4th book be with you

gahsafdsgElm Stone Saga fans, the moment has finally arrived!!!! The fourth book in The Elm Stone Saga, ‘Haunted’, is here. Here’s a little interview I did with the fabulous author, Shayla Morgansen herself.

What inspired The Elm Stone Saga?

Two things. One, the then-impending completion of the Harry Potter series, which I was finding difficult to replace. Two, a baby names book I bought to help me find names for my Sims. I found Aristea and Renatus in there, along with almost the entire cast, and started imagining them as characters. That’s why all the weird names!

What authors inspire you, and why?

So many, where do I start? JK Rowling is my hero because of her tenacity and the impact she had on reading and literacy. Laini Taylor and Catherynne M Valente make me want to write better, every time I read a single gorgeously crafted line of theirs… their story worlds are so beautiful and every word is a delight. And Jodi McAlister, because she manages to strike a balance between academic life and writing fantasy novels!

What was the first thing that drew you into the fantasy world?

sdgasgg.jpgI always watched and read fantasy and science fiction. My childhood movies were Star Wars, Independence Day, Stargate, The Labyrinth… Plus The Swan Princess and a big helping of Disney… That’s why I’m so well-adjusted. For books, especially long magical series that drew me totally in, it would have to be The Chronicles of Narnia.

What book is your most anticipated read for the rest of this year?

Other than the forty-something unread books sitting on my bookshelf already? Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell.

What was your favourite read of 2018?

Well, that’s too hard. Either Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine or Valentine by Jodi McAlister. Or Illuminae. Or Geekerella. I don’t know. I’m a picky reader – if it doesn’t have magic, spaceships or police, I’m out – so I love nearly everything that makes it onto my very exclusive list!

How did you decide on the cover of your books?

Painfully, or so my cover artists would say. I’m picky with everything. I knew I didn’t want to have people on them and I wanted a symbol. My amazing artist friends who developed the covers helped me to think about what symbol matched the content of each book.

agfagasgIf your book series was to be a movie, who would you cast? Personally I think the actor who played Victor Aldertree on Shadowhunters would be perfect for Qasim.

I remember you saying that! Maybe Theo James as Renatus? Though I think the books are better suited to a series than to film.

What do you want readers to take away from reading The Elm Stone Saga?

Enjoyment? There isn’t really any deliberate moral or message to the series – more of an exploration of my own into the different ethical perspectives. Is an action inherently right or wrong? Is its rightness determined by its outcome? Or is something more or less right if it affects people you love? These are questions my characters struggle with and I think we all can relate, so I hope readers get a moment of escape when they’re reading about fictional people dealing with these worries in fictional settings.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Take yourself seriously, or no one else will – but not so seriously that you forget that this is supposed to be fun. Language should be a delight. If you don’t love writing, your approach needs a look-over.

Finally, can you tease use about any upcoming projects you have on the horizon?

agf.jpgI always have too much going on! Aside from my non-fiction works coming out over the next year, my massive unfinished fanfiction and the research arising from my ongoing study, I do have a new fiction series I’ve started working on. Think The X-Files­ meets Grimm – supernatural police procedural. But it’s a while off, and I’m committed to completing The Elm Stone Saga for now.

~J.J. Fryer

You can find out more about Shayla Morgansen at her website, on The Elm Stone Saga’s Facebook page, or by following her on Instagram. All four books in The Elm Stone Saga are available from our store.

You can follow JJ Fryer on Twitter and Instagram. His debut novel Inner Reflection is available from our store.

Meet the Author: Amanda Geisler

Amanda Geisler has been a dedicated reader since a young age, always searching for new materials to devour. She began writing short stories at the age of 9, musing over the worlds she created before being introduced to the world of novels in her early teen years. Amanda is an enthusiastic reader and writer of young adult urban fantasy and paranormal novels.

gwrrThe White Wolf trilogy has been Amanda’s foundation project. Having started the original version when she was 13, The Stray was a work in progress for several years until she finally finished it in 2016.

Besides reading and writing, Amanda lives and works in Brisbane as an early childhood educator while she continues to study towards a Bachelor of Education at university. Amanda uses her spare time to continue with her writing projects and to attend events such as Supanova and Genre Con.

Favourites

Favourite book/s: Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Favourite film/s: Harry Potter Series

Favourite television series: Teen Wolf

Favourite colour: Purple

Favourite Sesame Street character: Big Bird

Favourite subject in school: Maths

Favourite special place: My bed

Ideal holiday destination: Europe

Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Mushrooms

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Hot Pink (unless for charity event)

Fears: Claustrophobia, stairs

Least favourite sport: Cricket

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 25

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: Photography

Best Skittle flavour: Purple/Grape

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work:

What genres do you read and write: I read and write a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal novels. Sometimes read horror. Rarely romance.

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus: 2016

Current work-in-progress: The Lost

What can readers expect from you in future: My writing career has taken a bit of a hiatus as my university, personal and working personas take more importance. However, I am working on The Lost and will get it out as soon as it’s ready.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write: I feel I connect and relate to Rya most of all. Probably because I have spent so much time in her head and some of my personality is in her. I am looking forward to writing from Dylan’s point of view as the series progresses. He is a charismatic, sarcastic and cheerful character that I believe will be interesting and fun to write.

What upcoming or recently released Ouroborus book are you most eager to read and why? I am looking forward to reading Blank. I have had it on my shelf for a few months now and I have been waiting for time to read it.

Either or

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Paperback

Chocolate or chips? Both (depends on mood)

DC or Marvel? Marvel

Blue ink or black? Both (depends on mood and what it is used for)

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors

Spotless work space or is there a desk under all that? Bit of both

Coffee or tea? Neither

You can find out more about Amanda Geisler here and the books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.