A New Cover for The King’s Riddle

The King’s Riddle is the second book of The Land of Miu Series. This book takes us back to the four friends (Kate, Emma, Alara and Siptah) three months after the first book ends. And, this book is told from Siptah’s point of view so the reader will be provided with more background information in regards to the magical world of Miu.

The book’s description reads …

Princess Alara and her guard-in-training, Siptah, have done something unthinkable. By accident, they activated the volcano deep below the tunnels in which they live. If they can’t stop the volcano from erupting the whole of Miu will be lost.

But that isn’t the only problem they have, their fathers are missing and time is running out, so it’s up to them to fix things by themselves. A clue found in the king’s chamber suggests their human friends, Kate and Emma, must come back to Manu to help them. Can the group of friends overcome their fears and frustrations and solve an ancient riddle in time to save the Land of Miu?

Many thanks goes to Donna from DigitalDonna.com. She will be providing the covers for all three books in the series. And, I must say, they look awesome.

The King’s Riddle will be available from 25 January 2012.

Advertisements

Out With the Old and In With the New

Cat's Eyes (fantasy for younger readers)

1st Edition, published December 2010

2nd Edition, published November 2011

Important Note: “Cat’s Eyes” is being replaced with a second edition with a new title, “The Land of Miu”.

These are the same book, the first book in the series, but with different titles and different covers.

On 25 November 2011 “Cat’s Eyes” will officially become the first edition of Book 1 of the The Land of Miu series. The second edition will be released with the title “The Land of Miu” and it will be published with a new cover (see the cover to the right).

It is extremely important to me that readers know and understand these two titles are one and the same book (same story, same events, same characters — the second edition has just been tweaked a little bit for spelling/grammar inconsistencies). I have attempted to ensure everyone is fully aware of this fact well before the publication date and I have placed both covers on this page in an effort to get the word out there. I truly don’t want existing readers to purchase the second edition and feel duped. So please be patient with me if you feel I am going on about it too much.

The Mythology Behind the Land of Miu

Until now, the mythology behind the Land of Miu has not been shared with anyone. It wasn’t a secret, but I enjoyed writing the first two books without ever mentioning that the Land of Miu was built around Ancient Egyptian mythology.

Book 2, The King’s Riddle, does have a clear reference to the myth. Book 3, The Lion Gods, will be where all is revealed.

However, today, I am going to reveal the myth behind the Land of Miu.

For those of you who are familiar with the original publication of the first book (soon to be released with the title The Land of Miu, but originally published as “Cat’s Eyes”) you will recognise the image above as a similar version to what was used on the front cover.

This was not something I made up. It is a real Ancient Egyptian myth called Aker, also referred to as Akeru and Akerui. Aker was an ancient earth-god in Egypt. It is said that the two lions are guarding the entrance to the underworld to ensure evil spirits cannot escape when the sun entered the tunnels at dusk, travelled through the underworld during the night and exited the tunnels at dawn.

The image itself depicts two lions seated back to back with the symbol for the horizon on their shoulders with the rising sun. The lions themselves represent the sun setting in the west and the sun rising in the east. They were named Sef (Yesterday) and Duau (Today). The strip at the top is the sky, which is held up by the two peaks of Djew.

Now we get to the bit that involves the Land of Miu. The Egyptians believed there was a cosmic mountain range that held up the heavens. The western peak was called Manu while the eastern peak was called Bakhu. It was on these two peaks that the heavens rested and these are the two cities found in Miu.

We have the lions protecting the entrances to the underworld and we have the two peaks of the mountain supporting heaven. I found this to be a fascinating combination and the Land of Miu was built entirely around the image and the mythology associated with it.

How the Land of Miu Began

On 29 July 2005 I wrote in a post, “Cat’s Eyes. What mysterious land is hidden within their depths?”

I was talking about the eyes of my female cat, Sophie (on the right in the photo above). She would (and still does) sit and stare at me with a knowledgeable look. I often wondered what she was thinking. And she always came across as a being that is older and wiser than her years. She is an aloof cat and she expects obedience from her human slaves … for that is how she makes us feel. For instance, she’s too good to use a cat flap; a cat of her status has door men or women to do her bidding. She acts like royalty.

On the other hand, there is also her brother, Jasper (on the left). He’s always been a loving cat and it’s not unusual for him to walk into the room, straight up to where you are sitting, jump onto your lap and pat your face with his paw. He wants totals focus from us. He wants lots of patting and loving. He’s bigger than his sister and he portrays a fearless leader. However, he’s not as courageous as he would like us to believe. On numerous occasions his sister was the one that killed a rat, but he would snatch it from her and pretend he was victorious in the hunt. And in a scuffle, we’ve seen Jasper hiding in the bushes while his sister exerts her authority in the cat kingdom.

Somewhere around this time in 2005 I had a dream. The exact date is not noted anywhere, but I still remember the dream clearly … mainly because it was referred to in the book.

I dreamt that a little girl went butterfly hunting in her large, secluded back yard. At the very back of the yard (and this really doesn’t make sense, but remember, it was a dream) there was a large rock that overhung a secluded spot below. There was a bit of a drop involved. Anyway, the girl rested on the rock and presently heard voices. When she gazed over the edge of this large rock she discovered two cats sitting together, talking about a mysterious underground world. The girl listened as the cats spoke of the trouble they were in, about another cat who was trying to kill them and what they intended to do to outsmart their pursuer.

I believe I woke up around this time. If not, I remember no more than this.

The dream and my two cats gave me the first glimpse of the Land of Miu. I wondered how I could make a story from these scant ideas and very soon had the basics of a world and at least two of the characters. Of course, I didn’t want the story to be about cats so I decided that the Miuan people could shape shift. Sophie and Jasper made a cameo appearance in the beginning of the first book (which at that time was titled “Cat’s Eyes”) as did a reference to the dream itself.

When the cats changed back to their Miuan form, they insisted they be called by their Miuan names which are Alara and Siptah. These two characters are joined by Kate and Emma, two human girls.

On 13 September 2005 I began writing the first chapter of the first book. It would be five years before the first book was published with the original name “Cat’s Eyes”. That was in December 2010. This month the second edition will be published with a new name, The Land of Miu.

Together, the four characters go on one adventure after the other. So you can expect to see more of them in the future. Apart from that no one can say what the future holds for the series, but where it came from is now quite clear.

The Land of Miu Series – New Titles

The Land of Miu series is changing, as announced in my post “Cat’s Eyes” to be Renamed. Yet it’s more than just the first book to be renamed and republished … and it’s all very exciting.

Regardless of my statement, “The cover for this book will remain the same…”, I have once again changed my mind and there will be a new cover too. It is in the process of being designed by a third party and I simply cannot wait to receive it and start promoting it to the world! That will happen by the end of next week, I think.

Besides the above, books two and three will also undergo a radical change. Both books have received new titles and I will commission new covers for them as well, once the first cover has been finalised.

The series name is unchanged. It has been and will remain The Land of Miu series. The three planned books are as follows:

The Land of Miu (Book 1), previously published with the name “Cat’s Eyes”, the second edition will be released on 25 November 2011.

The King’s Riddle (Book 2) will be released on 25 January 2012.

The Lion Gods (Book 3) will be released in late 2012 or early 2013.

“Cat’s Eyes” to be Renamed

A decision has been made to republish Cat’s Eyes as a second edition using a new title The Land of Miu. It has been a concern for some months that people will look at the former title and think the book is about cats, when in fact it isn’t. The book is about two young sisters who have an adventure in another world. It’s filled with magic, mythology, suspense and family. The only connection to cats is that the Miuan people are shapeshifters and often take the form of cats. They are also not human and have a resemblance to a cat with the top half of their face being very cat like, but don’t dare say that to a Miuan as they become highly offended by the comment. 😀

I feel “Cat’s Eyes” is a good name for the story, however, it does give the wrong impression and for that reason I know republishing with a new title is a good move.

Besides, it means the book will be updated in some ways. The cover for this book will remain the same as I think it’s highly important that the two versions resemble each other. It is also extremely important that the people who have already purchased the book KNOW this is the same story. I don’t want anyone feeling cheated and deceived.

Cat’s Eyes is the first edition. The Land of Miu is the second edition. They are one and the same book.

Books 2 and 3 will also be given a name change. The titles are yet to be confirmed.

Please refer to Kayelle Press for more details.

Ripping Ozzie Reads Interview

It was an honour to be interviewed by Ripping Ozzie Reads in the last few days. Being a quiet person by nature, I feel totally “out in the open” right now. It feels strange to bring my personal life and writing life together and just be me for a change, to share the emotional journey through to the end result – Hope.

Each day brings a smile to my face when I discover another book (or two) has been sold. It makes the long hours and sometimes stressful times totally worth it. Finally, I feel like I have done something worthwhile and will help other families avoid the loss I endured. My deepest gratitude goes to everyone who made this possible.

Hope is beginning to make an appearance on the world wide web. It is now available in paperback and ebook versions on Amazon and will soon be available through other online bookstores.

“Hope” is Here!

My name is Karen Henderson and I use my birth name, Karen Lee Field, as my pen name. “Hope” is a project that is close to my heart. I have wanted to do something since I lost my son to suicide in 2006. In many ways, it gave me purpose, which in turn gave me hope. So the anthology is aptly named.

In late 2010 I decided to put my plans into action and I approached writers from around Australia, telling them my story, asking for their help. I was astounded by the response!

Yesterday, Hope was launched online. The book launch is still going and I invite you to head over to the book launch and say hello. You might even win a copy of the ebook. And there’s a real possibility that you’ll win a paperback book too.

My story “Boundaries” is included in the anthology, but for me the story is not important. To me, the message of the book in its entirety is the important thing. Hope gives the reader thirteen speculative fiction stories, but it also raises suicide awareness with short ‘snippets’ of information on suicide. I urge teenagers to read the book so they are able to ‘see’ when a friend may need their help. And I urge parents to read the book so they will ‘know’ when their child may be showing signs of being suicidal. Being suicide aware may save a life. That’s what this book means to me.

I will be forever grateful to the contributors to this anthology. Together, we can make a difference.

And I think it’s important to mention at this point that none of the contributions received payment for their time or their stories. They gave these things willingly because they want to help raise suicide awareness. All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to Beyondblue and The Anika Foundation.

Here is the Table of Contents:

Preface by Karen Henderson
Introduction by Simon Haynes
High Tide at Hot Water Beach by Paul Haines
Suicide: An Introduction by Warren Bartik and Myfanwy Maple
Burned in the Black by Janette Dalgliesh
Australian Suicide Statistics
The Haunted Earth by Sean Williams
The Causes of Suicide
Eliot by Benjamin Solah
Warning Signs
Boundaries by Karen Lee Field
Indigenous Suicides
The Encounter by Sasha Beattie
Drugs and Alcohol
The God on the Mountain by Graham Storrs
Suicide Around the World
Deployment by Craig Hull
Suicide: The Impact by Myfanwy Maple and Warren Bartik
Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden by Joanne Anderton
Helping a Friend Through Loss
Blinded by Jodi Cleghorn
Myths and Facts
The Choosing by Rowena Cory Daniells
How to Help Someone at Risk of Suicide by beyondblue
Duty and Sacrifice by Alan Baxter
What You Can Do to Keep Yourself Safe by beyondblue
A Moment, A Day, A Year… by Pamela Freeman
Where to Get Help
About the Authors

And this is a summary of the stories included by some of Australia’s best speculative fiction writers:

High Tide at Hot Water Beach by Paul Haines
A man dying of a terminal disease bets his life on one last chance at survival, a chance that looks like certain death from the perspective of his family.

Burned in the Black by Janette Dalgliesh
A jaded starbeast herder, with more secrets than she cares for and a difficult task ahead, is swept into an uneasy alliance with a troubled technobard whose unique gifts could mean her salvation … or her downfall.

The Haunted Earth by Sean Williams
Not all aliens are evil, but every first contact comes at a cost.

Eliot by Benjamin Solah
Eliot hides his dark memories in the pages of journals. But there is one memory he needs to uncover once the face paint washes away.

Boundaries by Karen Lee Field
With cursed blood running through his veins and boundaries touched by magic, an escaped slave battles for life as a Freeman.

The Encounter by Sasha Beattie
A woman’s desperation finds her in a small town where she learns of a dark secret that threatens to take away her only hope of happiness.

The God on the Mountain by Graham Storrs
An ambitious scientist’s career may be over if she dare not seek the god on the mountain and confront it.

Deployment by Craig Hull
After choosing the loneliness of deep space, a woman must confront her painful past to save the life of a child.

Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden by Joanne Anderton
In the ruins of a dying magical Garden, two people from opposite sides of a dangerous clash of cultures must learn to trust each other to survive.

Blinded by Jodi Cleghorn
The past and present collide for exo-biologist Dr Thaleia Halligan when the most recent addition to her exploration team is revealed as something other than a field medic for hire.

The Choosing by Rowena Cory Daniells
In a harsh, tropical paradise, a world of scattered islands where the poor live on boats and whole tribes live the canopies of sea- growing trees, two boys set off to prove they are worthy of being called men.

Duty and Sacrifice by Alan Baxter
In endless grasslands an assasin works her way towards the biggest job of her life, and maybe the last.

A Moment, A Day, A Year… by Pamela Freeman
The Oracle ordains everyone’s role in the Yearly Round, but there are more choices to be made than anyone knows, and some of them are deadly.

It’s a brilliant book, so please help us help those in need and you can become suicide aware at the same time.

Communication Skills

All parties working on a project need to work as a team. They must also respect each other’s point of view. If everyone is working in different directions then the project will not succeed.

Point of View

Everyone has a point of view. Often everyone thinks their point of view is the right one. This is only natural because we all see things/situations differently. However, it doesn’t mean we are always right and it can be that part of or all of the other points of view are also correct.

The key is to be objective. It’s OK to have a different point of view which you are willing to put aside because the majority thinks another way. However, never compromise your ethics.

Compromise

As the editor, you must learn to compromise. And, remember, you are not the author and should not be attempting to change the author’s style.

Remember quality and profit from the last post? Ask yourself will compromising make either of these things suffer.

Key Communication Skills

Active Listening means to respond and question. All parties need to be able to question without fear of reprisal.

Consideration must always be given to the author’s goal. The publisher/editor/copyeditor/proofreader should not become so intent on grammar and correctness that this is forgotten. This means the other parties (publisher and editors) must never become narrow-minded. And, if you are wrong…admit it!

Non-Verbal Language will tell other parties what you think even if you don’t say it. This is true on the phone too. The other person cannot see you, but they can hear the smile on your face or the roll of your eyes, and they respond to these things. They also feel the distance if they can hear you doing other things. They may feel hurried if you speak fast. Where possible, learn to adjust your tone, pace and vocal range to the person you are talking to.

Communicating the Editors Role to the Author

As an editor, the best thing you can do is define your role to the author at your first meeting. This will help develop a good editor/author relationship.

Some things you should do are: explain your role in the company; advise that your suggestions are just that suggestions and the author has the final say; explain the manuscript must comply with the publisher’s in-house style; talk about the importance of readership and what they want and expect; and, briefly explain the publishing process. Be sure to mention that once the manuscript goes to print, no more corrections can be made.

Editing Course: Developing Good Working Relationship

Before I get started on the course notes, I’d like to mention that the last two months has been hectic. I’ve been too busy to post or to do my courses. I’ve taken up the editing course again this week, but will defer the writing course until after the editing course is complete. That way, both courses will get my full attention, which will ultimately be better for me.

Unit 6: The Importance of Understanding

Relationships with anyone are delicate. They need to be worked on. The important factor for success for a partnership between two people, especially in a work relationship, is understanding the ultimate goal. All parties need to know they aim for quality and profit.

Quality: the end product needs to meet standards expected by the author and publisher.

Profit: there is no point publishing something if there’s no profit. Publishers need profit to survive.

The Editor/Author Relationship

Many works are edited three or more times. Yet it is not uncommon for an error to be found even after numerous edits. It’s also not uncommon for someone else to find an error after the work is published.

The editor must work ‘with’ the author and not ‘against’ the author. The number of edits is not a reflection on the author and does not indicate poor quality.

To obtain a more objective viewpoint, the author must be able to take a break after the first draft is finished. When they return to the work they will see things much more clearly.

The editor has a more objective eye because they are not as close to the work, they have not invested hours and hours of time working of the manuscript. And they are not emotionally connected with the work. Because of this, the editor easily spots the faults.

Where the author immerses themselves into the work, the editor must remain detached and objective. This does not mean, however, being cold and unfeeling.

The author and editor must understand what will be accepted and wanted by the audience. Because if disappointed, the audience may never purchase anything by that author again.

The Editor/Proofreader Relationship

The proofreader’s role is to help the editor bring the project to a stage of completion. The key to success here is communication.

Proofreaders need to stay up-to-date with language and style changes, new printing procedures and changes in industry standards.

And editor needs to be able to trust the proofreader in this regard and will expect an acceptable degree of accuracy.

A proofreader must detach themselves from the content and read character by character, line by line. They do not look for plot/story faults and will never be held responsible for not spotting these faults.

The Editor/Publisher Relationship

The level of responsibility will be determined by the publisher. It can be a difficult job as you may end up the ‘middle man’ between the publisher and the author. Remember, you are accountable to the publisher and that’s where your loyalty should be. You’ll need to be aware of deadlines, profit margins, sales etc but you will also need to be conscious of the author’s professional position.