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Dear Fellow Fiction Frolicker,
My much-awaited mid-year holidays offered opportunities for both editing and real-life adventure. A tropical getaway was the perfect escape from a wet, miserable Melbourne winter. Snorkelling above brain, terrace and deer horn-shaped coral was quite the otherworldy experience. The Barrier Reef offered an abundance of fish of all stripes, spots and sizes.

I was thrilled to realize that the dark creature moving below me was a shark (only about a meter long, swimming ahead of me). And mesmerised to see a bright purple octopus swim past, then latch onto the reef, where knobbly shapes protruded from its head as it camouflaged to deceive its prey into swimming too close. A stupid human who surfaced to spit out sea water waves washed into their snorkel, and lost track of where their body was positioned, found suspicious, angry, perfectly symmetrical circles across their knee that night (don't worry, no medical assistance was required and I was fine the next day 😉).

Then there was the Daintree Forest, a (according to some estimates) 180 million-year-old tangle of trees, vines and bright green, very wet vegetation (it poured rain all day). The price of this great escape was of course that asthma and hey fever smacked me in the chest as soon as I flew home to a much colder Melbourne winter, but it was totally worth it!
Authorly News & Book Awards
The Indie Ink Awards are on now. Manipulator's War's cover and its nonbinary representation of Ruarnon are eligible for awards, so please vote for it in any category you find it worthy. It only takes a moment to create an Indie Story Geek log-in to vote and voting closes on July 31st. 

I've also entered Manipulator's War in
 SPFBO 8, in which 300 indie fantasy books are judged by 10 prominent fantasy blogs, each blog choosing a finalist for the top 10, from which all 10 blogs choose a winner. Manipulator's War will be judged by none other than Fantasy Faction, THE people you want reviewing your fantasy book, so fingers crossed I'll get a review from them!
Secrets of the Sorcery War Cover Reveal!
I know, it was only a few months ago that I held my physical launch party for Manipulator's War, yet here I am deep diving into beta reader-informed edits for book 2. Meanwhile, Judah and I have been working on this cover, the wild, adventure-promising horizons and open blue of which I love.

While Manipulator's War focuses heavily on themes of war, Secrets of the Sorcery War is where my restless desire for travel and adventure kicks into the story. This is when Ruarnon and Linh get to explore barren wastelands, encounter trouble on the high seas and discover new powers ...that the enemy wields too.
Here's a brief (not too spoilery if you haven't had a chance to read Manipulator's War yet) blurb:
Ruarnon sets sail, seeking allies to help recover their parents from a sorcerer-king shipping murderous monsters abroad for reasons unknown. The voyage is feisty history nerd Linh and class clown Troy’s best hope of returning to loved ones in Australia. Magic, solving abductions & evermore dangerous adventures await all three as they explore a volcanic island, meet and learn from figures of myth and discover the secret might of Ruarnon's allies over the sea.

Available for Pre-order on Amazon or to be added to your tbr on Goodreads.
Blog Browsing
Character Development Checklists
If you've beta read for me, you'll know that developing fully rounded characters with their own voices, goals and struggles readers can hopefully relate to has been a big part of my editing process. I've summarised what I've learned about developing character arcs for protagonists, antagonists and developing fully rounded secondary characters here.
Read On
Self Publishing Part 2
This is a comprehensive introduction to everything I've learned about book launching over the past two and a bit years. It includes a lot of links to many specific resources that have helped me launch and begin to market my book so far.
Read On
Free Fantasy Reads
Miriam Cumming is a fellow Aussie, queer SFF author, and is one of many authors who's helping me find my way as an indie author, so ne's got a prime spot here. More free reads below!
Control your dreams, reshape reality.

For thirteen-year-old witch Morrigan, ethics are simple. She’s unapologetically vegan and makes memes to prove it. Witchcraft is another form of activism for Morrigan, whose recent mastery of astral travel enables her to leave her body while she sleeps. But when an outbreak of SUNDS—Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome—hits Australia, she falls into the dreams of the killer.

Get your copy here.
Next Time
I'll be back in September, hopefully, with Secrets of the Sorcery War launch news (I currently have covid on the back of my chest infection, so my edits have been set back by a month due to poor health). There will certainly be more self-publishing tips plus an interview with authors about their journey from a chaotic, plan free approach to writing to something resembling order in their story construction.
Until then,
Travel the route less taken,
Walk the unknown road,
Explore the wide horizon,
Wander far from home.

Take care and be kind to yourself,
If free action-packed Fantasy or SciFi is your jam, select the image below to browse these short story/ novella titles and more.
For free Fantasy and SciFi reads with a focus on world-building, from short stories to novels, select the image below.
Copyright © 2022, Elise Carlson, All rights reserved.

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