From fires to floods…and a character reveal!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. The busy time at work is finally over, but that means we have lots of cleaning and straightening up o do. We’re slowly getting the store back to normality.

The fires were all declared as extinguished just a few days ago, as we received torrential rainfall. We have literally gone from fires to floods, it’s crazy!

I live 5 or 6 houses up from the edge of a wetlands. There is a tiny creek that runs through the middle that is usually little more than a trickle. The rains flooded the entire wetlands; it even breached a small section of the road.

Just up the road is a wide floodway which captures the runoff from the new housing developments in the area. I’ve seen it flow before when we’ve had heavy rain, but nothing on this scale before.

Image 3 in the above gallery was taken at a flood retention wall about 30 minutes from here. The dry image was taken 2 years ago on a warm day. The wet image was taken 24 hours after the rains, it was still flowing steadily. The below video is not mine.

So yeah, it has been crazy in Sydney !

In other news, I now have two new pets. A mussel and another mystery snail. What weirdo critter will I bring home next!

And now for the character reveal…

I would like to introduce Yger (pronounced Yerrr), one of the supporting characters in Book 2, The Darkest Realm.

Yger is very close to my heart. She has her own deep ingrained motivations for joining with our heroes (yes there’s some past trauma, but hey, which character doesn’t have past trauma these days?), but she is a very strong-willed woman.

She is deadly with a crossbow, and has long deep purple hair. Her character is heavily inspired by Domitia, a hero in the game Empires & Puzzles which I play.

Not my image. Image by Small Giant – Puzzles & Empires

Yger is my first ever transgendered character. As with my other diverse characters, I don’t write that she’s trans. I leave that up to the reader to figure out; when we first meet her in the hands of the bad guys, they misgender her as ‘he’, which will probably be confusing at first but will begin to make sense a little further on.

I have seen some less-open-minded people ask on Twitter:
Why do you even need to include gay/trans characters?
I counter that with another question:
Why wouldn’t I?

Gender diverse people, including trans, enby, gender fluid etc, are all valid. I want to help to normalise gender diverse characters in literature; I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to read about a straight man and woman falling in love and living happily ever after. I want to read about characters which represent our world today.

(C) Amy-Alex Campbell

Straya Day

Forty years ago today, my parents said their vows and were married. They got married on Australia Day – “so that your father will never forget our anniversary.”

So a big shout out to Mum and Dad, for putting up with each other for so long!

Image by Wagga Wagga Council

It has been 2020 for 26 days now. In that time, we have had raging bushfires, flooding in some parts of Aus, a downed C130-J, a virus outbreak, an erupting volcano in the Philippines, and an earthquake in Turkey. Trump is on the verge of being impeached, and so far no tour has been announced for Mumford and Sons to visit Australia (yet).

I feel like 2020 is the start of book 5 in a series, opening with loads of drama and action, readying the reader for the finale of the story. I don’t mean this in a dooms day way; I’m sure there will be a sequel and spin off stories 😉

Speaking of sequels and series, Book 2 – The Darkest Realm is coming along nicely. I’m almost at 18,500 words.

I’ve been a bit challenged in the first 5-6 chapters of book 2. I don’t like the term writer’s block, but it was a form of bloc nonetheless. It turns out I had not sufficiently planned some of the background stuff, which is usually what causes block in the first place.

I spent some time jotting down notes, and I came up with a whole new ‘old magic system’ that will explain the underlying function of how my cult operates without being unbelievable. It also answered questions on how my villain can control his cult in the first place, without using the same form of mancery as Nika and Freyne.

I have two major scenes that I can’t wait to write – I don’t write out of sequence though, so my reward for powering forward will be to write these scenes. I get excited just thinking about them!

My heroes are about to meet my trans woman character Yger, and I’m so excited about this. I have been asked by some people why I’m including a trans character, and my response is:
“Why wouldn’t I? They are people too; if I don’t represent them in literature, who will?”
There is so much nasty, negative stuff out there, I want to break that and show folks that trans people are people, and deserve as much respect as everyone else. The only way to normalise it is by talking about it.

And finally, just a reminder that I’ll be having a stall at the Sydney Gay Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day. If you are in Sydney, come along and say hi! I’ll have plenty of copies of books available to purchase, and I’ll happily sign them on request.

16th Feb 2020! Hopefully see you there!

Bidding has closed

My #AuthorsForFireys auction has closed at a total of $100. Every little bit helps, I’m stoked that it went for that much. The winning bidder has transferred the amount to me, and on the 31st I’ll transfer the donation PLUS the portions of my royalties to the CFA.

Progress on book 2 is going a bit slower than I had hoped. It is still busy time at work until Feb, so I just have to take each day as it comes. I’m up to just over 17,000 words, so that’s not too bad.

More recently, I commissioned one of my Twitter friends (Morgan Wright) to animate the cover of The Lowest Realm, and I am not disappointed.

The next thing on the cards for this writer is Fair Day 2020, which is a part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. I’m having a stall with one of my friends , and will be looking forward to meeting folks, and hopefully selling some books!

I’f you’re in Sydney, come along and say hi! Our stall is called Queer Queatives.

#AuthorsForFireys

I am pleased to announce that I am joining in the #AuthorsForFireys auction on Twitter.

What’s that you ask?

Authors are auctioning copies of books, or services such as editing/beta reading, as a way to raise money for bushfires in Australia. Instead of sending the author the money and being unsure of where it ends up, the winning bidder makes the donation directly to the charity, and sends the author a copy of the receipt. The author then sends the item / provides the service as promised.

I am auctioning one signed copy of The Lowest Realm. Just 28 mins after posting to social media, I have received the opening bid – $100!

This will be running until Saturday 18th January, 9pm Sydney time.

I will still be donating $1 from every eBook and $5 from every paperback during January – so far I’m sitting at $1 (I know that’s not much, but that’s 1 more $ and it all adds up).

Photo taken by Ja Worsley – Eye Products International.
The aftermath – Bilpin, Blue Mountains. NSW Australia
09/01/2020

My beautiful country is on fire

It’s a not-so-happy new year here in Australia. Our beautiful country is burning, our animals are dying, and our people are losing their homes and lives. Unfortunately, fire is a deadly reality that Australians must face every summer, and it’s very close to my heart.

Here is a little story that I can’t stop thinking about.

I grew up in a tiny town of Dunolly in Central Victoria. We lived on a 10 acre block of land 10km from town, in the middle of the bush. As kids, my brother and I knew our bushfire survival plan like the back of our hands.

One day, one of the neighbors was angle grinding on a total fire ban day, 42c heat, in a dry grassy area, and of course he started a grass fire. Our parents told us to stay home, and they drove off to help put it out.

My brother and I immediately thought the worse (we were kids), so we gathered up all the photo albums, some tinned spag and 2 min noodles, the pets, and made our way to the front dam where we waited. We could see the smoke in the sky, so of course we thought the worst.

Finally mum and dad came home, and when they couldn’t find us at the house, they drove down to the front dam to find us kids sitting there with the dogs and cats, wondering if we should go in the water yet.

For us it wasn’t a drill. It is part of the reality that comes with living in such a dry harsh environment.

Sitting here in Sydney, breathing in the toxic smoke and hearing that several friends have been evacuated has left me reeling. I want to help, but I’m not in the financial position to do so.

I hummed and harred a bit, and have decided to donated $1 from every eBook and $5 from every paperback to the RFS to go towards equipment and our heroes.

It’s not much I know, and a lot of weary Aussies are on the lookout for scams and businesses who are looking to profit from this disaster.

I will be taking a loss by doing this, but I don’t care about that. This is the one way I can give back. I aim to raise around $50 is possible. Like I said, it’s not much, but at this stage every cent helps.

More map making!

I hope you all had a great Christmas (or celebration). For me it was a day off…we did the obligatory visit to the inlaws, then went and watched the new Star Wars film.

After working insane hours in the leadup to Christmas, I am now enjoying 4 days off work. So today I finally started working on the A2 sized world map.

I’m going to mention that the scale of the assets (forests, mountains etc) are still not right – I do need to go A1 to get it right. But for now, I’m working on the A2, as it will enable me to continue with the story. In the photo below, you will see that the sizing is way too big in relation to the Eastern Isles. That’s ok, I’ll do a new one in the new year when I can get to Officeworks.

As always, I took progress pics as I went, just because I can.

Hopefully I’ll finish it tomorrow, but I’m not in a rush.

I’m sure some of the names will change as I write the story, and I’ll add things in / remove stuff.

You’ll notice to the north, a place called Gri’Ran’s Gate. I’m thinking of making this a fort, with a stone wall that stretches along the entire Living Forest. But we’ll see, I don’t have any back story regarding Dryads vs Humans, and Dryads would certainly not wish to storm a fortress.

Hmmmm.

I still have space for lots of names of cities and landmarks, so it’s your turn to get involved! If you would like me to create a name from your name, reply to this post, DM me on FB or Twitter, or email me at Amy-Alex.Campbell@outlook.com, and you could become a part of literature!

Have a safe and happy new year my peeps 💜

Some exciting news!

Today I’m visiting Westfield Penrith to get a few last minute things before Christmas. Today is my last day off before Christmas day, so it was nice to come out and do a bit of shopping.

Of course I can’t walk past Dymocks without dropping in for a look. They have an amazing fantasy section, and I couldn’t help but dream about them stocking my book.

I bought a Halo novel for my favorite human, and as I was paying for it, I asked if they ever stock books by independant authors. The lady who served me was so lovely, she pointed to another lady and told me to go and speak to her.

I showed her the proof copy that I just happened to have with me, and my author contact card. She was most impressed by the quality of the book, and loved my hand drawn maps.

They are more than willing to stock my book on consignment, all I have to do is deliver them 5 copies with an invoice and voila!

So guess who is dropping into Penrith tomorrow after work 😀

In other news: I am slowly working on book 2. I had hit a few minor walls in chapter 3 which somewhat blocked me, but I blame that on being so tired from working crazy hours with the Xmas rush at work.

I am up to chapter four, and I have started working on the names of kingdoms, cities and geography for the mainland.

I have 4 days off leading up to (and including) new years, so I’m hoping I can lock myself in somewhere and write write write!