This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. KJ will be awarding an eCopy of Broken Prophecy to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
This is my special place – the place where I create. This desk was an 18th birthday present from my parents – since I never learned to drive they couldn’t get me a car, and I said “well I could really use a new desk”, so they got me that instead.
I actually use it for several different purposes; I write here, but I also draw, sew, and occasionally play video games! Which is why it’s so cluttered. I’ve got thread, needles and scissors within easy reach, along with pens and pencils (I keep them in the two-handled mug I drank milo out of as a child). Underneath my computer I keep my pill container – I have Ulcerative Colitis and have to take medication every morning and evening. And there are a pair of rubber duckies I’m saving to send to a friend who collects them. You can also see the cow’s horn I like to drink wine out of (it was a present from my mother, okay?). And a stuffed toy zombie named Perry (I made his little tophat myself! The feather came from my canary, Snow).
There are plenty of pictures as well – artworks drawn by fans, and myself as well. A printed photograph of Jeffery Dahmer as a child, posing with his beloved pet dog (it’s a long story). A map of the world I created for my series The Cymrian Saga. My degrees, and my Young Distinguished Alumni Award.
A lot of things have accumulated on my desk, because it’s the place where I spend most of my time when I’m at home. Now I take another look at it, I realise it reflects a lot of my personality. In a way it’s a microcosm of my life. Lots of quirky little bits and pieces, not all of which need to be there as such, but which don’t cause me any problems and so they’re allowed to stay. I like having the fan art there because when I look at it it reminds me that I’m not writing purely for myself, and that there are other people out there who love my books and are excited to read each new one as it comes out. Reader enthusiasm is so inspiring, and it’s half of what makes this business worthwhile.
I’m also very fond of my keyboard, which is made entirely out of bamboo (other than the internal electronics, of course). It came with a matching bamboo mouse, and every visitor remarks on it! If you’re going to be doing a lot of typing, it’s important to have a good keyboard. And I’ve got a neat sound system hooked up to the laptop, which was actually a gift from a friend. I’m something of an audiophile – I never write without listening to music – so good speakers are a big help with that.
I never feel so calm and in control as I do when I sit down at my desk. If I’m feeling depressed or stressed out, I cheer myself up by thinking of how I’ll come home and return to it. Every writer needs a refuge – this is mine, and I love it.
Ambit Afterman is the Chosen One. Born with the mark of the silver bellflower on his palm and given a magical spear, he is the one whose coming the prophecy foretold.
Unfortunately, he would much rather drink beer and get laid - destiny can go fuck itself.
Together with his demon friend Snarl, Ambit sets out on a mighty quest - to make sure the prophecy doesn't come true, and avoid doing anything heroic under any circumstances. Along the way he will make polite conversation with demons, not deliver any great speeches, not train with the wise monks, and weasel his way out of adventure and into the nearest pub. But there may just be time to have cheap sex with the beautiful princess along the way.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Luckily the stretch of demon country didn’t go too much further. Ambit kept following the river, and by evening he could see green up ahead. Grass started to peek through the stone, and after a while the land gradually flowed back into trees and plants, all of them festooned with flowers. There was some fruit as well, and Ambit picked a good meal’s worth of it and sat down under a tree to eat.
As for Snarl, several times along the way through demon country she had stopped to dig in crevices and other places, and had made a meal of the rocks she dug up. At one point she had even found a rough diamond, which she picked up with a rasp of triumph and carried with her for the rest of the walk – resting it between the spikes on her back.
‘Saving it for a special occasion?’ Ambit asked her now, watching her put it down and caress it with her claws.
Snarl looked up at him, her red eyes shining. ‘Something this fine you have to savour, otherwise it’s not special.’
Ambit dug in his pack for a roll of leather strips, and started to restrap the spear, carefully covering it from the butt to just behind the point. ‘You’re right about that,’ he said. ‘I’m still saving that bit of cheese I picked up in Fessifern. It’s probably even mouldier now than it was then.’
‘Disgusting,’ said Snarl.
‘You’re right. I’ll have to toast it if it’s too far gone,’ said Ambit. He finished covering the spear, and then put it aside while he dug out his map. It had been drawn on another roll of leather, and thanks to spending so much time in his pack it looked even older than it was. He untied the string holding it together, and a pungent odour wafted out, making Snarl cringe.
Ambit sniffed cautiously, and peeled the last curl of leather apart. Something green and furry fell out onto the grass, and he picked it up. ‘Wow, I was right.’
Snarl watched him buff the lump of cheese on his shirt. ‘You used the map for that?’
‘It’s waterproof, isn’t it?’ said Ambit. ‘Now, let’s see where we’re at.’ He pinned the map down with his free hand and inspected it, absent-mindedly biting into the cheese.
Snarl came over to look. ‘Which river are we by?’
‘That one,’ said Ambit, pointing to a spot which had been handily marked out for them by a greasy cheese stain. ‘We’re here at the edge of this bit of demon country – map shows we just left this area around one of the Nine Mountains – in Seberry, and the river should take us right into the valley where those monks live. Let me see if I can work it out.’ He worked his way around the map, using his finger to measure distances, and then nodded. ‘If we keep up the pace, we should get to the monastery around lunchtime tomorrow.’
‘Finally,’ said Snarl.
‘Maybe you can eat your diamond there, make a celebration of it,’ said Ambit.
‘Only if it’s good news,’ said Snarl.
‘It’d better be after all this,’ said Ambit. He rolled the map up and put it away, stifling a yawn. ‘But first we get to do my third favourite thing and get some sleep.’
‘We’re just going to make camp here?’ asked Snarl.
Ambit lay back against the tree. ‘It’s too far to the nearest village, and knowing my luck there’ll be another old coot going on about chosen ones. I’ll take the chance of getting rained on over that any day.’
‘And I won’t have to hide,’ said Snarl. She looked skyward. ‘It had better not rain.’
‘Yeah, here’s hoping,’ Ambit said sleepily.
Snarl left him where he was and waddled over to the next tree along. She wandered back and forth for a while, growling and muttering to herself, until she found a good spot and started to dig. The dirt steamed as she shovelled it aside with her claws, and in very little time she had disappeared underground. A while later she came into view again, squatting just inside her burrow and peering out for any sign of trouble.
Ambit, meanwhile, stayed comfortably stretched out on the grass with the spear still in his hand. Every now and then he opened one eye partway, but eventually he gave that up and went to sleep.
About the Author:
She published her first work, The Land of Bad Fantasy, through Scholastic when she was just 18, and HarperVoyager went on to publish The Dark Griffin in Australia and New Zealand five years later. The Griffin's Flight and The Griffin's War followed in the same year, and were released in America and Canada in 2011. The Shadow's Heir, The Shadowed Throne and The Shadow's Heart have now joined them in both Australia and the US.
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