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Southern Hemisphere Spring Update

blossom on a plum tree in spring
Blossom on a plum tree in spring

Hey Team,

Just a quick update.

I’ve just switched website hosts as I was having issues with my previous one.

I’d really like to do a full-site makeover, but I’m not sure how long that will take or how much time I can put into it, so I won’t make any promises about timelines at this stage. Besides, I’m sure some of you would rather I put ANY spare time to writing Magician’s Touch, huh? I’ll keep on it.

So, that’s about the state of things at the moment. I have a 9-year-old birthday party to sort this month. I’ve also just committed to buying myself some new glasses (eep!), which will help my eyes to work together better (they’ve been slightly “off” since my now-3-year-old put his fingernail through my left cornea two years ago) and generally reduce eye-strain when reading/working at the computer (very important for writing!).

dead tree against a stunning blue sky
It may be dead, but I still love this tree

Wishing those of you in the Northern Hemisphere a comfortable Autumn, and those of us down South a bountiful Spring.


Bonus: Warrior’s Touch Deleted Chapter

Howdy team, I just felt like posting to keep things active around here, but as always, I’m a tired working mother of young children (and full up with a cold at the moment, bleugh) trying to fit writing in where I can. So, here I am, posting already written stuff (o:

This is a scene from Warrior’s Touch that I think I deleted because it came in the first half of the book which, as attested by my second Amazon US review, probably drags a bit long and, as this scene didn’t develop the plot at all, I cut it. It was one of those “darlings” us writers are meant to kill, and I admit to a sense of “something missing” when I read that part of the book. So, I’m going to pop this here for those fans looking for something more and waiting eagerly for the ever so slowly developing Magician’s Touch.

This scene would have been Chapter 8, or possibly 8 & 9 if I’d mooshed it into the Chapter per POV style we ended up going with.

Probably spoilers for those who haven’t read Healer’s Touch. Pretty safe for those who have but haven’t made the jump to Warrior’s Touch, yet.

Read more…Bonus: Warrior’s Touch Deleted Chapter

2018 Recap

Healer's Touch cover with some fireworks overlayed
I don’t think Jonas is overly excited by the new year


I thought it might be nice to see in the New Year by having a look back at the old first.

Looking back at my Goodreads stats, 2018 was my biggest reading year ever, with 34 books recorded as completed. It may or may not be completely accurate, but it’s a good start. Given that life has also felt at its most full over the last 12 months, I’m pretty chuffed with that. I had a 2-going-on-3 year old at home full time with me for most of the year, and that’s about the age when they become properly hard work. They develop their own interests which don’t necessarily align with your own, and you end up spending hours each day playing with Hot Wheels cars when you’ve got a long list of chores to get through, too. And then there’s work, home admin, the other child to support, entertain, and generally look after, and all the other things that make life feel full. But I always make time for some reading each day. Even if I only get through half a page before falling asleep at night. I still read.

My total from last year was boosted by a couple of things: I read a lot of short stories/books, and I read some great fiction that really pulled me in and kept me hooked. It’s so easy to read LOTS when you find books like that.

What Did I Read?

When 2018 started, I had just completed reading the first seven books in Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge series (in less than a month, while my children were home on holiday…). So, of course, I went straight onto reading Book 8: Republic. Republic isn’t part of the initial series, and the romantic story arc with its fantastically drawn out sexual tension is completed. However, I still very much enjoyed Republic, and I adored the cover. Never have I found a neck quite so sexy. But, I suspect it had a LOT to do with the character attached to it. Sicarius is quite yum.

Still not having had enough of Amaranthe and Sicarius and their merry band of helpers, I went back and read several of the linked short stories. Some we “unnecessary” to the overall series, but quite fun, while others filled in gaps in the narrative of the bigger books. Then I went on to book 9 in the series: Diplomats and Fugitives. Again, the major story arc of the first 7 books is closed by now, but this is a worthy read for those not quite ready to let the characters go.

Still loving Lindsay Buroker’s writing voice, I went onto her Science Fiction series Fallen Empire, another 7-book-plus-additional-shorts series with a strong romantic/sexual tension storyline. I really enjoyed it, though I still maintain my biggest soft spot of Amaranthe and Sicarius.

Other books I read and enjoyed included N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, which I thought was really clever and enjoyable overall. I do plan to return to the series some time. I finally got around the reading books 2 & 3 of Paige Daniels’s Non-Compliance series and imagine they will appeal to many readers interested in dystopian scifi, with a dash of romance.

I actually went back and read Emperor’s Edge again nearly halfway through 2018… the first 7 books plus the essential short stories, in order.

I was intrigued by the way the wolf brain could influence the human brain in the werewolves of The Complete Bloodling Serial by Aimee Easterling and I went on to try Shiftless (the first in a related series).

I read The Locksmith by Barbara Howe when I found her beside me in a list of New Zealand authors. It was a little outside of my usual more epic fantasy, but was quite a nice light romance in a fantasy setting.

Finding her amongst a list of New Zealand authors, I tried Jayne Castel’s Ruled by Shadows. Wonderfully enough, it turns out she’s not just a New Zealand writer, but a Dunedin one! I didn’t know that at the time I was reading. I loved the opening chapters, in particular, as they set the scene and established a budding romance.

Now, I’m going to come over as biased because I’ve known Kura Carpenter since the end of 2011 when I met her at a local, Dunedin writers group, but I really, really enjoyed her debut novel The Kingfisher’s Debt. It’s an Urban Fantasy set in Dunedin, New Zealand, which is really cool. And it’s got everything you’d expect from an UF book: warring tribes/families, a who-done-it crime, magic that flies under the radar of most people in the world, a dash of romance… As well as having things you’d expect from a New Zealand story: dark comedy, and snark. Carpenter writes the best snark I’ve read in ages. And I’m not just saying that. I was genuinely impressed by the character voices in this tale.

Now, somewhere throughout the year, I read Warrior’s Touch at least twice, I think… It was due for release (though I didn’t know when until the end of July), and it was getting its final proofread, as well as me just wanting to be ready to say I still thought it was a good book (in my opinion… which you can judge based on what I’ve said above, I guess). And I do still like it, even after reading I don’t know how many times over the last five years. Also, having made some fairly major changes to it over the years, I wanted to get its final form more locked-in, so I don’t get muddled between versions.

I started a few other books over the year, and I think I may have been spoiled by The Emperor’s Edge series, because I was seeking that same love for the characters again and again, and couldn’t find it! So, I have several books I’ve started but haven’t managed to finish. Some I plan to return to when I feel more ready for the kind of book they are, rather than the kind of book I’m currently seeking.

What Else Happened In 2018?

You may be aware that Warrior’s Touch was released into the wild in September. If not… Well, where have you been?! So, that was exciting and disappointing, as the reality of being in the early stages of a writing career often is. It’s lovely to finally see my book in print. It’s hard dealing with all the silence afterwards and the “Oh, I haven’t read it, yet…” That is a mental challenge. Reality check: no one is as excited about your book as YOU are. It’s easier to make a baby (although, more life-threatening, so there is that)… and you’ll get a lot more Facebook love!

What was rather exciting (and scary) was that with the release of mine and Kura Carpenter’s books only a month apart, we joined forces to do a little local promotion. In doing so, we brought together eight Dunedin-based Speculative Fiction writers for an introduction and reading session at the Dunedin Public Library called Genre-8. I was a ball of nerves, but I survived! It was as eye-opening for us as for those who came to see us to learn just how many others are beavering away at fantastic tales within this small city (of about 120,000 people) rightfully recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature.

And from that event, a new group has been born, called the Dunedin Speculative Fiction group, with the goals of working together to support each other and help promote each other with the eventual goal of world domination mwahahahahahaha… Well, the idea is that together we can fumble less in the dark and take a more purposeful stroll through the depths of Fantasy and the other speculative fiction genres (and crosses). Writing may be considered a solo venture, but the old saying of no man (collective version that encompasses all genders) being an island applies in every endeavour. Together, we pool a wide range of experience and knowledge that we can share to build us all up in this extremely challenging career called Author of Fiction.

What 2019 Holds…

My youngest is off to kindy four days a week, now, so I get to have alone time for significant parts of those days. There are still plenty of things to fill up those hours. For instance, it is much nicer, and cheaper, to go to the supermarket alone, that takes up time that could otherwise go into writing, but so be it. And I do still have a “day job” to help pay the bills. However, since my writing brain is more likely to work during daylight hours, I’m trying to use my day hours for writing, and I do the “day job” after the kids go to bed at night (I’m very lucky to have a work-from-home bookkeeping job to help keep us afloat).

Anyway, my point is… I have more writing time this year than I had last year. So, yay!

What I’m Currently Reading…

cover of Wise Phuul by Daniel Stride

Wise Phuul by Daniel Stride, who also happens to be a Dunedin, New Zealand-based writer of Fantasy fiction, and a member of the Dunedin Speculative Fiction Group. This is a classic fantasy tale without the romantic fluff some of us can’t get enough of, and I’m enjoying the wit and cleverness of the world-building and character development. A definite recommendation to readers who love epic fantasy (again, not just saying that because I have met him in person a few times… it’s very well written and I would recommend it as a worthy read).

And I think that’s about that from me.

Do you have a reading goal for 2019? Although I think it’s hard to judge success based on number of books read when many of my favourite books can be 700-900 pages long… Can’t wait for the next (last?) Lightbringer novel from Brent Weeks.

What about watching speculative fiction? Most of my favourites would fall under that umbrella: iZombie, How To Train Your Dragon movies (Note: The 3rd movie came out in New Zealand yesterday(!) and I have already seen it! Barring the rather crappy experience of going to a movie theatre with people who don’t respect seating allocations, the movie was satisfying… although I think I still love the 2nd one more!), comic-universe TV & movies (DC for TV, Marvel for movies in this house), and I think my all time favourite movie (to date) Rise of the Guardians (I know… kids movies are GREAT!). Story is story, I love it in all its forms.

Welcome to 2019. Realistically, I know it’ll be a mixed bag, but I truly wish the best for you all.

Roll on 2019

Just attended a funeral with my characters. now to get ready for a party. hmm.

A facebook post I made back in 2012.

Slow progress…

Wow. 6 (SIX!!) years ago I wrote a certain scene for Warrior’s Touch… yes, before Healer’s Touch even came out, I was nearly half way through. Although, I’m pretty sure when I wrote this scene the first time, it happened in another country. But that’s what major edits do. I do recall that the funeral scene had quite the impact on me, and really didn’t leave me in the mood to party.
A little over 4 years ago, I began Magician’s Touch. Then I went back for more edits on Warrior’s Touch. Then I grew another human and things really ground to a halt for a while.

I’m feeling positive about writing in 2019. I feel like I’m building the support I need around me to help me on this journey. Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but it rarely progresses in a vacuum.

Now, I have this image in my head of an anime version of Llew, Jonas, and Braph looking like they might if they were to celebrate Christmas. However, I lack time and the hours of practice needed to bring something worth sharing into reality, and so, I’ll let you fill in the blank.

Anyway, I think what I would like to say here is:

Warm fuzzy Season’s Greetings to you, my readers.

I am super grateful any time you part with money to buy my books (Plural, now! Wow!), and the time you spend reading them. My hope is that I have made it worth your while.

Thank you.

May you have a wonderful holiday season. And I wish you all the very best for 2019.

red outline on a yellow background.

And, next year, I’m officially looking at new website design options…

Updated to https

Hi all.

The site might be a bit slow loading if you’re visiting for the first time in a while as I have updated to https to be more secure and likeable. As I am short on time and modern website know-how, I have used a plug-in to help me, and there is something about the way it works that slows things down. Those of you on mega-cool internet connections probably won’t notice. But, I did, because I’m stuck in the “stone ages” of a 10MB/s connection (o;

Anyway, this is all in the aid of working to improve my visibility and find some more readers. So I will be looking for opportunities to be “out there”.

That being said; first priority is to finish Magician’s Touch, promise! Well, first priority after my mum duties and keeping a roof over our heads. But right after that…

Be seeing you around!

Feel free to let me know what you’re reading and loving. I’ve been in a reading slump recently, trying to slog through books that aren’t really grabbing me, except this recent YA read by a fellow Dunedin, NZ writer Kura Carpenter: The Kingfisher’s Debt.


Warrior’s Touch is LIVE

Warrior's Touch paperbacks (3)
Look at the pretty. Just LOOK at it!




I forgot I should probably write something here…


Warrior’s Touch went live on Sunday (2nd September 2018). I can see it on Amazon for Kindle.


Kindle US | Kindle Australia | Kindle UK


I’m still waiting for it to show up elsewhere (it’s meant to be a wide release, not exclusive, but there we are…). And, Amazon doesn’t have the paperbacks listed, yet… not sure why. I am following that up.


As for audio, Kathryn, who did Healer’s Touch, is keen to work on WT (yay!), which is lovely, because neither of us are getting rich off it at this time (dreams of one day…?). So, I just need to co-ordinate with the powers-that-be and get that ball rolling, too.


So… it’s a THING! It exists!


And, at this time, I still LOVE this book! I do. I’m pretty chuffed with how it’s turned out.


Now I just need to keep some confidence in where I’m going with Magician’s Touch, and get it done and out to you all asap!



EDITED to add more links: Kobo, Thalia, Barnes & Noble

For all the details, check out the Warrior’s Touch Page



The ultimate betrayal exposes a new enemy and forces Llew and Jonas to choose their loves, loyalties and allies.


Once upon a time, the last Immortal lost his powers to an Aenuk Healer and her tree. Nine hundred years later, he learns that

Read more…Warrior’s Touch is LIVE

Warrior’s Touch Excerpt

Here we are… a pivotal moment in the story, but one that I don’t think gives too much away.

Of course, if you haven’t read Healer’s Touch, here be spoilers. Warned.

A soldier sauntered arrogantly up to Aris. Llew might have said ‘swaggering’, but the man’s high boots and long, medalled, dress jacket suggested a class beyond swagger. The white handle hanging from his hip glowed in the airy moonlight.

Captain.” The mustachioed man nodded to Aris.

Lieutenant general,” Aris acknowledged the man in return.

The new arrival placed himself beside Aris as he observed all those gathered in the yard. He dipped his head to share a few words with Aris.

Military ranks were lost on Llew, but whether the man officially outranked him or not, it seemed Aris was in charge. The other man bent at the waist to listen to Aris’s instruction. The lieutenant general nodded and straightened. He and Aris surveyed the soldiers around them. Then Aris made a gesture.

Something thumped Llew in the chest, reminding her of the ache she’d felt when watching Karlani with Jonas. She looked to Jonas now. He was looking at two crossbow bolts in his hand, confused. He turned to her and his face went slack.

She looked down.

A crossbow bolt shaft protruded from her shirt, which meant the tip was… the tip was…

Read more…Warrior’s Touch Excerpt

Warrior’s Touch available for pre-order

That’s right. Just in case you didn’t know already: Warrior’s Touch has been sent to the paperback printers, ready for printing and distribution, and to the e-book suppliers for the same (minus printing). And the Amazons have it available for pre-order! (Clicking that link should take you to the WT page at your preferred Amazon online store).


Feel free to send me links if you find them elsewhere (iBooks?). I have been checking Kobo, but nothing as yet. Nothing on Barnes & Noble, either. Ebooks pre-orders seem to be of debatable value. It’s entirely possible that doing a pre-order period is going to hurt, rather than help, my ranking on Amazon. I guess we shall find out! This is only my second time out of the gates and, as a second book in a series, it feels like different marketing “rules” are in play. And then there’s this tug-of-war: I want to give my loyal readers what they want: THE BOOK! But, I also want to give myself the best chance possible of turning this writing gig into a legitimate career choice, because I really do enjoy it… and I have this new story idea burning at the back of my brain waiting its turn.


Anyway, for those cruising past who haven’t been hanging around Facebook or Twitter, here is a look at the Warrior’s Touch cover:


Warrior's Touch by Deb E Howell ebook cover
Warrior’s Touch front cover


I’ll admit, when I first saw it, I wasn’t immediately sold. But, I rather like that it’s not the standard fantasy dark figure in cloak running/hiding in the shadows. And I feel like the overall yellow tint will help it stand out on a page of other book thumbnails. Each character symbolises their overall journey within the story, without giving too much away, I think. And I’m looking forward to working on a cover for Magician’s Touch!


Here’s the paperback cover!

Warrior's Touch Deb E Howell cover full paperback
Warrior’s Touch Paperback cover


And for those looking for a little extra, here is a wee Easter Egg… I designed/illustrated the tattoo on Jonas:

Jonas from Warrior's Touch front cover showing the full tattoo design
Jonas and his Tattoo


I have previously played around with illustrating what it looks like wrapped around his body (the tail ends somewhere just beneath his left buttock), but my illustration skills as far as drawing (particularly colouring) people are somewhat substandard to my eye, so I won’t pop that here.




… right about now my busy mummy brain is kicking in and I’ve lost my train-of-thought. How to wind-up this post? I have no idea. But I had better get back to my invoicing “day job” before bed time.


So glad to have you on this journey with me.


Looking forward to sharing Warrior’s Touch and spurring myself on to make decent progress on Magician’s Touch in spite of life commitments. In theory, finishing a decent draft by the end of this year is feasible… watch this space, I guess.

Warrior’s Touch is coming

Hello world!

I completed a first draft in 2014! Completed major edits in 2016! Finalised the formatting earlier this year.

Yes, it’s been a long time coming (due largely to my own tardiness as I grew another human being, moved house, and continued to work towards supporting my family–writing doesn’t do that) but Warrior’s Touch will soon be out in the world. When? Well, I’ll leave that for another post. We need to throw some dates around and pick one (depending on a few other links in the chain).

Shall we take a moment to feel the warm glow of seeing a real, physical copy in existence (and, no, I haven’t touched it… it’s on the other side of the world!)… (photos courtesy of Kristell Ink/Grimbold Books)


Front Cover of Warrior's Touch by Deb E Howell
Front Cover


Back cover of Warrior's Touch by Deb E Howell
Back cover


First page of Chapter 1 of Warrior's Touch by Deb E Howell
Chapter 1


Healer's Touch and Warrior's Touch by Deb E Howell
Healer’s Touch and Warrior’s Touch together


Healer's Touch and Warrior's Touch by Deb E Howell spines
Warrior’s Touch is about 23,000 words longer than Healer’s Touch

You can let the world know you’re planning to read Warrior’s Touch here, on Goodreads.

Grim & Bold Interview Jennifer Lee Rossman

Hello team!

Grim Cat (one of the cats that run the Grimbold Books show, don’t ya know) has come up with some questions to ask the authors of Grimbold. Bold Cat may have added some thoughts. Today, I am hosting the interview with Jennifer Lee Rossman, who has a new book coming out at the end of May, although you can get a hold of ARC copies now. Read on to find out how…


Grim & Bold, the black cats
Art by Joshua Cornah – https://joshartisticgenius.deviantart.com/

So, this story you’ve written. What’s it about? Why should I interrupt my nap-time to read it?

Anachronism is about a time traveler and a gay teenage girl (who happens to be the future President of the United States) who go on a road trip to stop a nuclear war. It’s funny and there’s a twist at the end that is very clever, if I do say so myself. And you can always nap ON the book like my cat does.

Read more…Grim & Bold Interview Jennifer Lee Rossman