Sunday, June 24, 2012

We Have A Winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Blog Hop.  We now officially have a winner for my copy of Starfire!

Using Random Org, every entry went into the mix...


....the winner is....


So I will be emailing you shortly with your PDF copy of Starfire.

Thanks to everyone for participating.  I will update this post as soon as the SFRB have drawn their winner.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MidSummer Science Fiction Brigade Blog Hop!

Ru’Edan Home world
Timestamp 01-090-19-7298451
Scene – Zenith Solstice

Several high priestesses gathered around a single rock monument, in the middle of the desert sands of Fu’jar province. Women holding their naked, newly birthed daughters in their arms, waited for the ceremony to begin.  Other female priestesses take their places, squatting among the rocky outcrops, many holding ancient instruments in their hands.  They start chanting in time with the lowing horns of the beasts of burden, and the beating measure of drums.  A breeze blows warm air, faintly scented with the grasses being harvested in the distant fields.

Fiemanskar, the high priestess, steps from the circle of four practitioners positioned around the monument. The robes of her ceremonial gown, adorned with glittering gold and silver, drags on the dirt and rocks as she moves.  She takes an offered child in her hands, lifting the babe into the air; it wriggles and squalls in distress at the removal from its mother.  The child is an offering to the goddess who protects this planet; she is now destined to become one of the priestesses, virginal and pure, tending the sacred fires.   Her mother sobs piteously behind the priestess and for an instant a stab of pain moves through the priestess, knowing the long and lonely life the child will experience.  Then she brushes it aside.  The child is chosen.

The four priestesses around the stone begin to gyrate, their eyes closed as they move to the beat only they can hear.  The herbs they took before the ceremony have opened their minds to a higher plane of thought, allowing them to interact with the goddess in this time honored fashion.  

This single Zenith Solstice Ritual can only take place once in each solar cycle.  At the solstice, they gather before dawn, the cooler air refreshing before the heat of the day fills the air with oppressive warmth.  She nods as the child finally ceases its movements, as if it’s spirit has now absorbed the will of the goddess.  Slowly Fiemanskar lowers her arms, the precious bundle lying silent and still in her arms.  The act of the offering will bring the planet good fortune for the ensuing cycle.  The mother will be well compensated, entering into the band of handmaidens who serve within the temples.

“Eiis Ellane Vorgar Schevst Eiis Eiis Eiis” are intoned with great ceremony, the same words that had been spoken for generations at this time.  A handmaiden proffers her the ceremonial wrap of gold and silver, and the child is carefully enfolded within the soft folds.  A flying prey creature, squawks in the distance and Fiemanskar smiles, knowing the goddess has accepted this offering.

In this blog, I thought I would bring you just a snippet of what I imagine, would be a ritual that only takes place in high summer.  

Because most of my books take place either on a ship, or for the coming Star of the Fleet, on an inhabited asteroid, I wanted to paint a picture of something that takes place on the Ru’Edan home world.  I like to think that the planet-based citizens are similar to us, though.  With their religions and ceremonies, strictly observed by a public who worships them, they have little understanding of the daily life of a priestess, of the planet they inhabit.  

This is a planet that does not necessarily see women, as the equal of men, hence the reason for the interruption between the genders which shows up in the books.

You will notice none of the fathers are present.  The women, as I have imagined them, are secretive, considered lesser to the men, and the fathers take little or no interest in the upbringing of their daughters.  This is essentially borne out in the actions of Crick Sur Banden, who sees women as nothing more than breeders of his army. It is an intensely patriarchal society, although the more enlightened high class (caste) members are more likely to value their daughters.

As for the child who will become a priestess?  Her lot is to be taken back to the temple, her mother accompanying her for as long as the child needs her for the child is not yet weaned.  In this case, the child is only newly born, I imagine less than a month old, so her mother is required to feed  her still.  Once the child is old enough, the mother will relocate to another temple to serve another priestess. The child sent to a different province, maternal ties smashed, as the child’s future includes being brought up to be a priestess, immured in the roles and rituals.

This is  singularly, the most important ritual of the cycle for these women.  This is the only time when priestesses are chosen and only one can be accepted at each temple per cycle. This scene takes place in the main temple, where Fiemanskar resides with  fellow high priestesses, it is the most prestigious, situated on the main continent, making the child doubly blessed.  There is  no choice the mothers must present  their  daughters as offerings.

Once the ceremony has ended, the priestesses then commune back to the temple to participate in a feast and a solemn ceremony. Ancient and forbidden, it cannot be discussed with those outside the temple walls. (Which is why I can’t tell you any more about it.)  

In the streets people  celebrate the coming year, leaving offerings of food, clothing and even coin for the priestesses.  It is a general holiday among the populace.  Of course, such celebrations will only be for half the globe, as the other half will have to wait for their Zenith Solstice to occur.


Buy Links
Warriors of the Elector books
The Star of Ishtar (Short Story) – Ebook
Starfire – Ebook (paperback releasing later in the year)

Where to Interact 

You can find me on any of the following sites:  My Website  Facebook Twitter

Thanks for participating in the SFR Blog Hop.  There are some fabulous prizes to be won.  Visit each one to go into the draw!  Just click on the image below for details of the prizes.  The list of the participants is below.

To visit the participants:-

1. S. Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore  14. Melisse Aires  27. Kitty Roads  
2. Pippa Jay  15. Liana Brooks  28. Debra A. Soles  
3. Misa Buckley  16. A. R. Norris  29. Marlene @ Reading Reality  
4. Arlene Webb  17. L.J. Garland & Debbie Gould  30. Rae Lori  
5. Pauline Baird Jones  18. Sandra Sookoo  31. Bella Street  
6. Frances Pauli  19. Cara Michaels  32. Kyn Hatch  
7. Imogene Nix  20. Kaye Manro  33. T.K. Anthony  
8. Natalie Wright  21. Sheryl Nantus  34. Jo Jones  
9. Greta van der Rol  22. Diane Dooley  35. A.B. Gayle  
10. Jessica E. Subject  23. Kathleen Scott  36. Sue Ann Bowling  
11. D L Jackson  24. Ella Drake  37. Hywela Lyn  
12. Kayelle Allen  25. Cathy Pegau  

13. Joanne Elder  26. T. C. Archer  

Give Away!
Yes, as a thank you for visiting my blog today, I am giving away a single PDF copy of Starfire.  This is my newest title (Book 2 in the Warriors of the Elector Trilogy).  To enter my competition, please comment on my blog  -  simple really!  Enter before 24th June to be in the running.  

Also, remember to leave your email address so we can contact you when you win the draw for the Grand Prize, drawn on the 24th June!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I read romance - I am loud and proud

Some time ago, Nicola from Love Books pasted this entry on her website.

I am so pleased you found this page.  Today I was thinking as I was working on my website,  “What is the problem many people have with romance readers?”  Well, I think, it goes something like this:
Romance has a bad reputation.  A lot of people think of romance readers as their maiden aunts sitting on the train with the knitting in the bag and that ugly old cat waiting for them at home getting their daily passion ration with the book they keep stashed under a pillow on their chair.  You know what?  There could be a proportion of readers like that out there, but there is a growing movement of readers, young and old, professionals and tradesmen and women who also enjoy a good romance.
Why?  Because it feels good!  In the worst economic climate our country has seen in a while, things are pretty grim so we are looking to escape our reality, to live someone else’s life for just a while and to experience that flash of something special we all think of as love and the start of a brilliant and lifelong, not to mention emotionally satisfying partnership.  Wow!  Sounds Fab right?
Did you know romance is THE fastest growing genre in the world?  When you stop and consider that there is now in excess of 1500 romance titles released each month (in every format) that means more and more people are looking for the boost.  Romance is a multi million dollar industry.  Publishing houses are pumping big dollars into these lines because people want to read them because they feel better afterwards.
Is romance pornographic?  I hear this question time and time again.  No.  Romance is about that special relationship between 2 people.  Romance readers are looking for their payoff – the Happy Ever After (HEA) and they invest a lot of emotion into the stories they read.  Not quite what a lot of people think.  Yes, many do have physical scenes that leave you a little hot under the collar sometimes (and let’s be frank – some do read it for that) but the books are about that feeling you get when Hero gets Heroine, they beat the bad guys and get their HEA.  End of story it is about making you feel good.
Romance books are formulaic.  I wish writing a book was really that simple.  In fact, have you actually read what many Romance Specific publishing companies state on their websites?  Most only accept between 1 and 3 percent of ALL submissions made to them.  That means a lot of people are writing books and many will never get past first base.  If romance books had a formula, just like cooking, we could have 2 parts of love, half a cup of lust and a litre of happy ever after to make a perfect romance.  Unfortunately though, there would be a lot more books released if that was the case.
But at the end of the day, we still see articles telling us Romance Books are bad.  Why is that?  Sure there are people out there with addictive personalities who don’t have the skills to see that these books are, at the end of the day a story.  Not true.  But for many, it gives them something to strive for and look for in a relationship.  

As a reader of romance, I walk tall and openly state that I am a romance reader.  But in case you missed it...”Hi, my name is Nicola, and I read romance.”  And I am not the only one.  There are now associations world wide who encourage their readership to engage with others in open discussions about romance books.  In Australia, there is the Australian Romance Readers Association.  These are places where those who previously were underground romance readers can come together to share their passion for romance books.  (Pardon the pun!)  But they discuss the good points, the bad points and everything in between of their favourite authors, to share new authors and to critique the books they read.  They are hotbeds of creativity, where many will get their springboard into writing themselves, thus joining associations of romance writers!
So the next time someone says, “Oh, you read romance,” remember that this is a growing trend in males and females of every walk of life.  From Princesses to street sweepers, from pool attendants to Solicitors.    From booksellers to graphic designers and everyone in between.  We just want to feel better even if the buzz only lasts the period of a book.
Written by Nicola Pitt
Owner and Manager of Love Books Australia
Are you a proud romance reader?   
This article was written ages ago, before I began writing so it was one of the things that always sat in the back of my mind.  Since then I have started to get a handle on issues that romance readers and writers face.

 Things such as comments... "Have you done everything you write about in your books?" or "You write romance?  Can you tell me about the formula?"  People really don't understand that there is NO formula to writing a romance, or that hours and hours of research come before you even put your fingers to the keys.  That is why romance novels have such a strong basis in reality.
Sure, it is easier to publish your own work now.  Many do.  Some of the stuff out there is cringe-worthy but there is also a lot of things written to a really high standard by authors who have a strong grasp of the craft.  These authors have taken and invested in their pieces,  have had their work professionally edited and high quality cover art created.  It is, for many now, a business.  Not a job, because that implies 9-5 and this is so much more.  In fact, I would go so far as to call it a lifestyle choice.
 For me, the romance is about the passion and the growth of the characters.  Particularly, I like my settings to be predominantly set in space, where the hardships and crises both the Hero and Heroine face are out of the ordinary.  (Because we can all use something extraordinary to strive for, right?)
So the next time, someone says to you, "Oh you read romance."  or "You only write romance, don't you?" step forward and issue the challenge.  Write a character rich novel, filled with important details, find a publisher and show us your mettle.  I'll bet you, many will back away from the task, because it is a huge endeavor in a market that wants quality and choice.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Lucky Seven - Carrying on the tradition

Thanks to the fabulous Efthalia Pegios, I have been invited to participate in the Lucky Seven... So here goes...

The challenge. Post seven lines from an unpublished work of fiction. My current work in progress (WIP) is Starburst.  This is the final novel in the Warriors of the Elector Trilogy (but not the last story...)  It feels like it has taken forever, but I am finally past the halfway mark.

Anyway, it is the climax of the tale of my universe, several centuries into the future.  Jemma, Mellissa, Duvall, Grayson, Elara and Raven all turn up but the story is essentially about Meredith and Chowd.  Oh and we get to meet a couple of interesting characters as well.  New ones that you won't know anything about.

But anyway, onto the rules for the Lucky Seven...

  •  Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript (fiction or non-fiction)
  •  Go to line 7
  • Post on your blog the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are – no cheating
  •  Tag 7 other authors to do the same
So without any further is my excerpt...  7 sentences from page 77

    Feeling pleased that two of his friends had found a profound love.  One he would probably never experience, and a section of his chest ached at the realisation. 

    Afterwards, the Senior Crew retired to the Duvall's office, the Ambassador having cried off, citing his distress still at the death of his assistant, Portia. Chowd had found the woman cloying but he understood the feeling of loss and he empathised with the Ambassador. 

    But today was a joyous occasion and no-one could find anything in his absence to concern them. 

© 2012, Imogene Nix

So... who are my lucky seven?

Pauline Baird Jones
Jamallah Bergman
Whitney K-E
Carolyn Wren
Eleni Konstantine
Kelly Bowerman
AB Gayle

Psst... Don't forget to add your link at the bottom to your lucky seven blog, facebook or whatever page :)


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Midwinter In Queensland & Summer blogs.

You know, I am participating in Midsummer blog hops...the SCP Summer Scavenger Hunt... and it is the cold midwinter here.  I am currently sitting in bed with warm socks, warm pajamas and my dog snoring at the end of the bed.

It seems funny, that somehow, somewhere, in the northern hemisphere they are wearing shorts and flip flops and basking in the warming rays of the sun.  Today, was wet, drizzling and overcast... Tomorrow we are going to reach the heights of around 9 degrees ... in Fahrenheit that is something like 48.2. By any standard that is cold. (Trust me if I had icicles to put into the font, I would!)  Oh and the temps are still dropping.  Gulp.

So...where will you find me in June?  Maaann... I am actually going to have a slightly quieter month.  I am participating in the SFRB Midsummer Blog Hop (in the middle of winter), gearing up for the Secret Cravings Scavenger Hunt and my group of friends from Hotter Than Hades and I are running our first competition and you get to participate.

Apart from that, I will be on my Facebook page.  Oh yes, and the next set of edits for the Star of the Fleet should be arriving soon.  :)

But to keep you looking, I thought I would share a lovely picture that epitomizes for me what I am missing in winter:

This is Fraser Island in summer.

As the crow flies (ie in a roughly straight line) about 200-250km (125-155 miles) away...Look at those beaches and the beautiful blues and greens.  

However, here in Gayndah, frosts are the go each morning as the cattle moo and low on the wind.  Even the birds are later rising. 

Well, I hope that gives you an insight into where I live and the cool/cold/freezing winters.

Until next time...


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus

Ever since Lieutenant James Cook (Yes the Captain of the Endeavour) traveled south to observe the Transit of Venus, those Southern Continent Dwellers (namely the "Aussies") have taken great interest in this celestial event.  However, what is a “Transit”, I hear you ask.  To explain in the plainest terms, it is where one celestial body passes across another, making it visible from earth.

A very short history:

First seen in 1639 by Jeremiah Horrocks, the importance of the transit has become quite a stepping stone to our understanding of the rate and way the world turns as well as our ability to calculate distances between earth and other masses – namely planets. 

Observations of the transits of Venus became scientifically important when in 1716 Edmund Halley proposed that observations from different locations on the Earth could be used to determine the distance between the Sun and the Earth (called the Astronomical Unit); and the scale of the solar system could be subsequently determined by applying Kepler’s third law of planetary motion.
According to A Transit of Venus across the Sun occurs when the orbit of Venus takes it directly between the Earth and the Sun, obscuring a small portion of the Sun's disc. During the transit, Venus appears as a small black disc moving across the sun, usually taking several hours.
Transits of Venus across the Sun are extremely rare - one of the rarest of the predictable astronomical events, occurring in a repeating cycle of 243 years, with a pair of transits 8 years apart every 121.5 years and 105.5 years.

The last transit in the current cycle was in June 2004, but before that the last transit was in December 1874 and December 1882. The next transit after this one will be in December 2117 and December 2125 - so this is the last chance to see a transit of Venus in our lifetimes!

An even more rare occurrence is the Transits of Venus AND Mercury.  This has happened in the past with the last taking place on 22 September 373 173 BC.  If you are hoping to see that it will be on 26 July 69 163 (I doubt anyone of use will be around for that though.)

Amazingly, during one of the Transits of Venus, back in 1761 Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov made the discovery that Venus had an atmosphere. During the initial phase of the transit, he saw a ring of light around the trailing end of the planet (the portion that had not yet transited in front of the sun). He correctly inferred the only thing to explain the light refraction would be an atmosphere around the planet.

So, we understand that a great number of important discoveries about ourselves and our place in the universe have taken place as a result of the knowledge gained from the Transit of Venus, making it one of the most important celestial discoveries in our history, together with compositions of the moon etc.,

So for your interest and pleasure, I have put together a series of interesting facts about the Transit of Venus.

From –

First Transit of Venus “Movie”
Click on the image to follow the link
You do need a very fast link and Quicktime to view.

In December 1882, astronomer David Peck Todd traveled from Amherst College in Massachusetts to California to photograph the transit of Venus. The transits of 1874 and 1882 were the first since the invention of photography so Todd’s documentation of the Venus transit was one of the first made using photographs. On top of Mount Hamilton from what would become Lick Observatory (still under construction in 1882), Todd collected a series of photographs during the December 6 transit. Viewing conditions were ideal with no clouds and he collected 147 glass negative plates documenting most of the transit. The plates were carefully stored but soon forgotten as astronomers found better ways to view and document the transits. 

In 2002, two astronomers writing for Sky and Telescope magazine rediscovered the long forgotten plates, all of them intact and in good condition. They realized the sequence of photos could be made into the first “motion picture” of a Venus transit. The resulting “movie” documents one of the historic observations of a Venus transit. You can see the animation of the transit made using the 147 negatives here (warning – you need QuickTime and a fast internet connection). 

Did you know there was even a Transit of Venus March??  Yep.  There sure is – check this out!

Want to know and see more?

This link will take you to see a live feed of the Transit of Venus from Australia.  Check out this page for details – courtesy of NASA and Coca Cola (TM).  

To check out where to be in Australia and when – check out this timetable – courtesy of Transit of Venus website.  

Remember – A WORD OF CAUTION:  Never look directly at the Sun or you may cause serious and permanent damage to your eyesight. Damage can occur without any feeling that there is something wrong as there are no pain receptors in the retina and the damage may not become apparent for some time.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

The safest way to watch a transit is to observe an image of the Sun projected onto a screen through a telescope, binoculars, pinhole or reflected pinhole. The event can be viewed without magnification using filters specifically designed for this purpose, such as an astronomical solar filter or eclipse viewing glasses coated with a vacuum-deposited layer of chromium. However, the disk of Venus is tiny compared to the sun and not much will be seen. The once-recommended method of using exposed black-and-white film as a filter is not now considered safe, as small imperfections or gaps in the film may permit harmful UV rays to pass through. 

So, why am I so excited to learn about the Transit of Venus? 

Well, any SciFi writer worth their salt would find this event fascinating, but I have a double reason to celebrate.  You see, STARFIRE, the second novel of the Warriors of the Elector Trilogy releases on the DAY of the Transit of Venus.  That doesn’t happen very often J as you will understand.

Happy Transit of Venus Day, everyone!


Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Close Encounter with...Regan Walsh

Today, the fabulous Regan Walsh is visiting to talk a little about herself...and her latest release Whisper Cape.

Ooh...I love this cover!

Hi, Imogene, and thank you for hosting me on your blog today.

1. Can you tell me a little about the non-writing parts of your life?

Writing takes up a great deal of my time. I do spend a bit of time marketing, but other than that, my non-writing times are spent with my husband and other family members. We have a total of five kids and seven grandkids that I love spending time with. My husband recently built me a garden, so I’ll be spending time working on that. Most of the time, when I’m not writing, I’m reading.

2. If you had to sum yourself up in one sentence, what would you say?

I’m a woman with a heart of gold and the best intentions that don’t always pan out. LOL

3. If you had to think of one defining moment in your life, that brought you to writing, what would that be?

Getting that first sentence written.

4. Tea, Coffee, Chocolate or something a little stronger?

All the above.

5. 5 books on a desert island - what would you choose?

Ones I haven’t read, yet, preferably. But if they were books I’ve already read, three of them would be Nora Roberts’, Circle Trilogy, Morrigan’s Cross, Dance of the Gods, and Valley of Silence. The creativity and imagination goes above anything else I’ve ever read. The other two would be a couple of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brother Hood. Yes, these are all vampire books and I’m not necessarily attracted to vampire books, but the writing and the romance in these rises above any other’s I’ve read. I would have enjoyed all these characters and their stories even if they were normal everyday people put into situations even without the vampire element. 

6. What would you call your guilty pleasure?

I love floating on a raft in the pool with a good book.

7. Tell us something no one would guess about you.

I’ve always been sort of shy and work hard at putting myself out there.  I so totally get this, Regan!

8. Do you have a few words of advice for aspiring writings, reading this blog?

 Write from your heart and don’t worry about what other people think. After that, get some beta readers and see what they say, but use your own judgment. If you’re going to self-publish, get an editor, a must. Don’t think you don’t need one. You do. The most important thing; never give up.

9. Did you self publish or have a traditional publisher experience and would you recommend it to others as a first choice and why?

I didn’t self-publish initially. I had a contract with a small press publisher, but ended up asking to be released from my contract after I realized they weren’t going to do much in the promotion area. If I had to choose again between a traditional small press publisher and self-publishing, I would pick self-publishing. Most small press publishers don’t spend a ton of money on marketing your book anyway, so I don’t see the point of giving up most of your rights to them. It doesn’t matter much how good a book is, if no one knows about it. Don’t get me wrong, traditional publishing has its advantages, especially if it’s a major publisher with a huge ad budget and marketing campaign.

There is a ton of opportunities available for self-publishing and it doesn’t cost much if done yourself. I don’t think most readers care who published a book. In my opinion, what matters most is how well the book is written and formatted and of course, the story.

Thank you again, Imogene, for hosting me today.


A powerful woman, an extraordinary man, and a maniac who wants to destroy them. Fate has brought them together, but will it make them stronger or destroy them all in end?

Escape to a world where the impossible becomes possible and sparks ignite.

WHISPER CAPE is a town of secrets and Addison MacKenna soon becomes tangled in a web of them. Plagued with nightmares of her father’s sudden and brutal death, Addie struggles with her anguish and refuses to believe his demise was accidental.

Fighting to shake off one of those devastating early morning nightmares, Addison finds it even harder to escape from the vision of a man lying on the side of the road—a man she may have just killed. When she frantically tries to locate him, he seemingly disappears, just the beginning of strange occurrences in her life. She also cannot ignore the weird sensations in her own body. Suddenly, the impossible seems possible, but is that a blessing or a curse?

Believing that her continual and worsening nightmares are both the key to her own new abilities and the clue to her father’s death, Addie knows she will not rest until she has the answers she craves. As she strives to cope with her new remarkable talents, someone else learns of her abilities—a disgruntled maniacal psychopath with his own agenda that involves eliminating Addie. The only one who can protect her, instruct her in the use of her powers and teach her how to destroy the murderous monster is the same man who makes Addie’s heart race and her blood heat with passion. The same man she’d left for dead.

Cael Sheridan may be arrogant and mysterious but he's also undeniably gorgeous. A member of a secret society, he is sworn to protect the woman he believes to be the daughter of his recently murdered mentor. In the process, he finds it impossible to resist her magnetic sensuality, complicating his efforts to shield and guide her as she learns to manage her newly acquired skills. At the same time, Addison has much to teach him about trust and commitment. Fate has brought them together, but will it make them stronger or destroy them both in end?

You can find Regan here:

You can also follow the tour:

June 2 - Kickoff - Giveaway, Review and Guest Post(Character Insight and Quirks) -

June 3 - Interview/giveaway -

June 4 - Guest post -

June 5 – Bookspotlight -

June 6 – The music of the night -

June 7 - Interview/review -

June 8 - Guest post -

June 9 - Excerpt from Whisper Cape/giveaway -

Give Away...

So...Now you want to read this book, don't you?  One lucky comment leaver will win a copy...So, leave Regan a really nice comment...

I will choose a winner on the 10th June.  So get cracking...