An Update at the end of October 2015

I started writing this on my Facebook Page, and then I remembered that I really, really needed to post something here. So… here’s the goss:

Quiet me…

I’ve been full up with a cold over the last month (actually 2 colds… I was nearly over the first when the second struck) and, of course, I’m still full up with baby. And so, when I haven’t been doing the things I need to do in life (office job, house work, childcare, midwife appointments, scans, obstetrician appointments…), I have been sleeping (or coughing).

Somewhere in there, I strained an abdominal muscle (better now), and now I’m just working on clearing the last of the gunk from my lungs.

Our house is on the market… Not sold yet, sadly, but neither has anyone whisked the other house out from under us (the vendors have a “cash out” clause, so if they get a better offer than ours they can take it… unless we can pay right then), so all fingers still crossed. The vendors for the house we want were planning to restart an advertising campaign around now, though, so… eep! Nervous times.

An image from the lifestyle block we hope to buy
Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above…

The struggle we have is that even though we’d love a swift sale (therefore, a low price would be ideal), we are constrained because we simply can’t afford to grow our mortgage by too much… We’re already taking a financial risk just contemplating moving. But… mental health vs. financial health… Hopefully we can achieve both. And I need more space around me. And horses.

Aaaand… my baby has a mid-November due date… and tomorrow (NZ time) is November… And the pressure is on. My first son was born via c-section after several days of labour, so, of course, another c-section is very much on the cards. For the sake of quicker healing after, though, I’m aiming for VBAC (vaginal birth after c-sec). However, the hospital is watching me closely. I have another large baby in me, and if he goes past due date + 10 days, the hospital won’t risk artificially inducing me (which I don’t like the sound of anyway) because the added stresses introduced would put me at risk of rupturing my scar, so they would be pressing for an “elective” c-section at that point. Hence, pressure: on. Come on, baby. Feel free to come early (I have had to make peace with still being in this house when he arrives).

Needless to say, the creative juices are not flowing. This happened in my last pregnancy. I wrote very little of Healer’s Touch in the year I was pregnant with my first son. But I got back into it the following year, as I was up at interesting hours with a silently feeding baby, which allowed my mind to wonder, and then  that baby slept for two decent chunks of the day, which allowed me to write. Obviously, things will be different this time, with an older child already, but he is 5 now, so he has school (o:

Both Warrior’s Touch and Magician’s Touch are in limbo at the moment. I have ideas floating in my head for how to tackle my editorial letter for Warrior’s Touch, but I won’t likely be actioning those until the new year. My apologies. Of course I want to get these stories out to you (which would help me a–very–little financially while I’m not working, at the very least… but, come on… I’ve created something and I can’t wait to share it and–hopefully–you’ll love it, but I don’t know until you guys have it in your hot hands…).  I can’t wait… but I have to. I have to get it right.

And, then I’ve been a little bit naughty as I simmer ideas for a whole new project to come after Magician’s Touch. Which, I guess is a good thing. If you like my writing, hopefully you’ll like more stories by me. But, if you just want to conclude this series, that might make you a tad grumpy. Don’t worry. The next project is very much just a collection of jotted thoughts for now. I won’t allow myself to actually write any of it until a decent 2nd or 3rd draft of Magician’s Touch is winging it’s way to Kristell Ink. So, never fear, I’m doing what I can.

At least next year, while I’ll have a new baby and (hopefully) a lifestyle block to get my head around, I’ll have some breathing space from the office job. More of my headspace, while I do the not overly mentally stimulating work I need to do, can go to my fiction. Woo!

Right. Well, that’s a bout it from my brain today.

Time to get on with nibbling dates and pineapple.

DARKHAVEN by A.F.E. Smith lands today!

Out today: DARKHAVEN

Darkhaven cover

About the Book: 

Book title: DARKHAVEN

Author: A.F.E. Smith

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release date: 2 July 2015 (ebook), 14 January 2016 (paperback)

Price: £1.99/$3.99 (ebook)


Book description:

Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

Buy links 


Amazon (global link)

Barnes & Noble

Google play



A.F.E. Smith photo

About the Author:

A.F.E. Smith is an editor of academic texts by day and a fantasy writer by night. So far, she hasn’t mixed up the two. She lives with her husband and their two young children in a house that someone built to be as creaky as possible – getting to bed without waking the baby is like crossing a nightingale floor. Though she doesn’t have much spare time, she makes space for reading, mainly by not getting enough sleep (she’s powered by chocolate). Her physical bookshelves were stacked two deep long ago, so now she’s busy filling up her e-reader.

What A.F.E. stands for is a closely guarded secret, but you might get it out of her if you offer her enough snacks.

Author social media links




DARKHAVEN on Goodreads

April Update

So, Easter has come and gone and the year marches on.

Rememberance Poppy
Attribution: Wikimedia Commons (click on image for original)

New Zealand also commemorates Anzac Day in April (25th). It’s a day when we remember not only the day Anzac troops landed at a beach in Gallipoli during WWI, but our armed forces in general. Fact is, those guys do what the rest of us are so glad we don’t have to. But, sadly, we do live in a world where, I believe, some force is necessary sometimes. To quote one of my favourite movies (How to train your Dragon 2): “Men without reason cannot be reasoned with.”

I’m grateful to my uncle who popped up a little post on Facebook giving a run down of what he’d learned about my great grandfathers’ involvements (his grandfathers). I knew they must have been involved somehow, but I hadn’t managed to do any investigation so far myself. It’s nice to have a few details to add to the family tree I’ve been slowly filling in.


Read more…April Update

March Update

Here I am a couple of days late. But, here I am.

It’s always a toss-up for me whether I should prepare these posts early if I know I’m likely to get busy when they’re due, but I also want them to capture the month, and where I’m at at a particular time. So I prefer to keep them live as much as possible.

This month, the 20th happened to land on a day when it was just me and Mr4 alone for an entire day, followed by an anniversary dinner in the evening (also with Mr4 as we are short on babysitters at the moment), so by the time I had the time to sit at my computer to type anything, I didn’t have the energy. And then the next day was Saturday, so that was much the same. Here I am on a Sunday morning, eating my breakfast in front of my PC while Mr4 watches some Dinosaur Train with his dad.

Anyway, what I wanted to say first up was: Thanks.

Read more…March Update

The Fallacy of Reap What You Sow

I read an opinion piece in an online newspaper on Sunday just been. And then I went on to read the comments. Possibly a mistake, but, meh. It happened.

The article was about private property vs a community’s right to protest what the owner of the property wants to do on or with that private property. In this case, there was a native tree estimated to be 500 years old in line to be chopped down for development. A comment (I’m not going to go on and rant about) disputed whether we knew the age of the tree … Certain trees grow at certain rates. The size of the tree can give you a pretty close estimate). I guess you can see which side of the argument I err on. While I totally understand people’s desire to develop housing where housing is needed and wanted, and I understand people wanting to use their spare capital to grow their wealth, I just think there is more to the whole picture than our (fleeting) human wants and needs.

Anyway … back to the rant.

So, I came across a comment that included this statement:

Society uses self-interest as a motivator, which is fair enough; why should I advance the collective well-being if there is nothing in it for me? I have always regarded pure altruism as pretty stupid & highly unreliable.

Of course, I took some offence. I spent a great deal of time–that I could have put to my own endeavours–fighting to win gigabit speed internet for my city last year. Why? Because this city has been steadily losing jobs because of decisions made by other people and I (along with several others) figured this was a way to bring valuable new businesses to this city. For our own gain? For many of the hardest fighters: no. I (and several others) do not live in one of the areas that can access the fibre to get the gigabit internet. But, I know that there are now businesses already setting up and others looking to set up in Dunedin because of the Gig. Sure, there are flow on effects I hope to benefit from: a more vibrant city (already being achieved through new Street Art initiatives, which I have donated to also), more development and redevelopment which will provide jobs to builders and other services (and, yes, I work with electricians, so …)

Still, in the past I have volunteered for the SPCA and Victim Support. I got little directly out of this other than the sense of a job well done. (And, honestly, Victim Support damaged me for quite some time, but that’s a tale for another time).

Guess I’m just stupid.

But the part of the comment that really got to me was the next bit:

Thus the developing world uses various degrees & forms of self-interest to drive forward improvements in the common-weal. This is a working proposition as individuals who contribute the most get a better share of the returns. (emphasis added by me)


Just no.

Read more…The Fallacy of Reap What You Sow

February Update

February 2015, eh? It has certainly been a month. A month of what? I’m struggling to keep track of it all myself!


Sad news in our house this week as we said goodbye to our eldest cat, Kitty (Yeah … we tried a few names on him in the early days, but that was the only one that gelled!). 

I've written the story, but it's up to you if you'd like to read it (click here).
He was only 13, but we had been watching his rather rapid decline since Christmas with a mix of concern and frustration. First, he stopped eating biscuits. Fine. We offered him more meat. But then he got picky about the meat. He was getting picky about how he drank his water, too (from a plastic container in the bath to from around the plugged bath drain to straight from the running bath tap …), so it was very much a “How can I keep you well fed if you won’t eat what I offer?” situation. I felt like I was spending large chunks of my days dishing out cat food in small, frequent meals. Until this last week when we realised he was refusing every meal, and not even making an attempt to eat. At the same time an infection set in (runny nose & eyes), so it was definitely time for the vet. Long story shorter, the conclusion was a cancerous lump in his gut. Surgery/chemo/radiation might give him a few (unpleasant) months. With him already not eating, we decided the kindest option was to peacefully send him to sleep and away out of this realm. Now, the plan was to discuss this with Mr 4, let him know why Kitty wouldn’t be coming home again and give him the opportunity to say goodbye and also the choice to see Kitty after the deed, if he was comfortable with that. Well, in true Mr 4 style, he wanted to stay. At first, I said it wasn’t a great idea (I’ve helped two pets along before; 1 (cat) very peaceful, and 1 (dog) also probably peaceful, but didn’t look that way to me as an observer). But, when the time came, his curiosity got the better of me, and I decided not to drag him from the room. We explained what was happening, and Mr 4 was far more interested in mum’s tears than having any of his own or any worries about the whole thing. It’s hard to know how much he understands, but it’s good to know we can have open dialogue and he knows he’s welcome to ask questions and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. Overall, I’m happy with how things played out. Just sad to see the little white/ginger fellow gone so soon.

On with the show …

Read more…February Update

January Update

Welcome to my first post of 2015.

It doesn’t feel like there’s much to tell … so I’ll just get on with it.


Well, some a-little-bit-sad news, actually. Matt Donnici, who did the cover art for HEALER’S TOUCH, is deeply caught up in his work for the next Pirates movie, and so my publisher and I have opted to seek another cover artist. I’ve identified some possibilities from Deviant Art, so now we wait to find out if any are up for a commission …

Feel free to let me know if you know (or are) someone interested. We’d be looking for a similar drawing style to Matt (strong realism).


Writing Progress

Wow. Holiday Season, eh? It’s a strange one. In theory, you have all this time that you don’t have during the rest of the year … Yeah. Not so much. I worked through to Christmas, and my son’s kindy/daycare was open till Christmas Eve, then I couldn’t work on the non-statutory days because I had a child at home, but neither could I write because I had a child at home and my husband was working the non-stat days … Long days, too. So, it has been a very tiring time all round. However,

Read more…January Update

December Update

And where did December come from, eh? Every year it just seems to come from out of nowhere, pounce on our backs, dig its incisors into our necks and shake us like a terrier to a rat?

No? Just me, then?
That’s right. I see you shrugging meekly over there. Takes you by surprise, too, doesn’t it?

Well, here we are now, barely more than a week from a whole new year and all that it will bring.

Roll on 2015? I think so.


Right, news.

Not a lot, other than that I now have an approximate release date for WARRIOR’S TOUCH, which is Spring (that’s Autumn for us Southern Hemisphere-ites) 2015. Before you get too excited (I saw you), I feel a need to caution that it will probably be late Spring/Autumn, especially when we consider that my cover artist won’t be available until March as it is. But at least we have something to aim for. And between now and then there will be cover reveals and other marketing ploys to get us all excited and stuff …


Writing Progress

Read more…December Update

Books For Christmas

(Oops. Ignore my premature post… clicked “Publish” instead of “Save Draft”, didn’t I? Duh!)

Fellow Grimbold author Paige Daniels had this idea for a little cross-promotion since, you know, Christmas is coming up. So, just in case you wanted some ideas for books to hunt out in your local bookstore (sorry, I’ve probably left this a bit late to order physical copies), or to add to your wishlist should you find yourself with a digital voucher of some sort, I’m going to share a few ideas with you right here, you know, to help you out.

And, I’m totally going to borrow Paige’s categories/descriptions, too.

But first … I say, I say, FIRST, I’m going to pay homage to Paige by doing a plug for her books, because she plugged mine but didn’t even whisper her own books’ names (Yes! Plural!) in her post.

So without further ado, check these books out if you like your cyberpunk a little dystopian.


Non-Compliance--The-Sector COverNon-Compliance--Transition
Equilibrium Thumbnail
Non-Compliance: Equilibrium -- Coming soon!

Do you like pirates? Pterodactyls? Then look no further than the book below if you like swashbuckling adventures on the high seas.

 Sea Stone Sword Cover

Perhaps you like to mix it up with a bit of space opera?

Artifial Absolutes CoverSynthetic Illusions Cover
Do you like epic fantasies adventures complete with battles, adventures, Gods, Goddesses, mystical creatures, and sword fighting? You won’t be disappointed if you check out the books below.

Art of Forgetting Rider CovernomadIn Search of Gods & Heroes cover

If you like traditional fantasies with dragons, magic, demons, battles between good and evil then give the books below a go.

Darkspire Reaches CoverreluctantWhite Mountain Cover

Maybe you like less traditional fantasies, maybe those that occur in the future or even the present. The books below are sure to delight.

shadowoveravalon-smaller11Sword of Shadows CoverBook of Prophecy Cover

And for some more great reads, check out these indie picks:

New-Cover-Front-Small-194x300Fire Dragon by Mary FanAtlantis and the Game of Time Cover
Never Trust A PrinceHeiress of HealingHeiress of Magic
Ghost Hand Ripley PattonGhost Hold Ripley PattonGhost Heart Ripley Patton
Soul Fire Aprille LegacySoul Blaze Aprille LegacyNecklace


Season’s Greeting! Have a wonderful time whatever you are (or are not) celebrating. Snuggle up against the cold, or get out in that brilliant sunshine (? … um, she says, looking outside and at the weather forecast … sigh) with a good book, of course!

November Update

And so another month rolls by… In some ways, it felt long, and in other ways it (as so often happens) has zoomed by.


Sadly, there has been very little progress on WARRIOR’S TOUCH’s road to publication in the last month. Grimbold Books are busy with multiple books to sort, along with submissions to read, etc, etc. They’re a small team, and they’re doing the best they can. But it means we do have to be patient. I’m hoping that by my next update I will have more of an idea of what’s on the cards.

So… last month, I mentioned that Matt Donnici, the cover artist for HEALER’S TOUCH, was on board for the WARRIOR’S TOUCH cover, too. Well, progress is also slow for that… but it might just be for the best possible reason. He’s working on prop design for the 5th Pirates of the Caribbean movie (due out in 2017… WT will beat that, at least!). So {rubs knuckles up and down shirt}, you know, I guess I need to make concessions to allow my cover designer to work on these projects… sigh.

In case you missed it (it was waaaay down the bottom of last month’s post), I did an interview over on The Time Warrior’s website that went up last month. I consider it my best interview to date simply because I think I’m starting to get a bit more comfortable with all this stuff, so I was very “me” in it… and I guess I’m learning to be comfortable with me.

On with the show…

Writing Progress

Read more…November Update