Review Magic: How to Survive Your Magical Family

cat dreaming of lucky owner

How to Survive Your Magical Family has been meeting reviewers, and I’m excited to share extracts from one of these with you. It’s Review Magic as far as I’m concerned!

girl reading book

Magpies Magazine: Talking About Books For Children

Volume 38, Number 1, March 2023

Reviewed by Marie Alafaci

Right from the opening line, How to Survive Your Magical Family is a delight. This novel for younger readers delivers magic, mystery and mayhem… plus credible characters, lots of humour and action aplenty.
Toby is the youngest of the Dartin family and has the least magic. His sister, Helen, has much more practical magical abilities, such as healing animals, ‘imagining a parking spot into existence’ and turning off the iron after she’s left home. All Toby can do is charm any cat that comes to him.


Told between Toby’s point of view and that of his best friend Mia, How to Survive Your Magical Family leaps between normal family dynamics and kidnapping, bribery and vengeance.


Rhoden has created a completely believable alternative world where magical people and ‘flats’ – those who can’t see magic – interact happily, mostly without the ‘flats’ knowing. But she has also created credible child characters, Toby and Mia, who show courage and
intelligence, and have real agency throughout, even in the most hopeless situations. It’s also refreshing that she shows them as young people clearly out of their depth at times, kids who need to rely on the adults in their lives (most of whom are loving and capable) to help them.


How to Survive Your Magical Family is great fun, and there are enough loose ends to mean that a sequel could be on the cards, to which I say, ‘Deal me in!’ A fabulous read. Highly recommended.

This Fresh Hell!

This Fresh Hell cover

Announcing This Fresh Hell, a brand new horror anthology from the remarkable,  innovative Clan Destine Press. You can pre-order this beautifully horrible book  now (at a whopping 20% discount!). And yay! I have a story (or half of one) in this stunning collection of amazing tales.

From the blurb:

This Fresh Hell

A driver picks up a hitchhiker from the side of a road; a family moves in to a house that may be haunted; a visit to the cabin in the woods goes terribly wrong…
We all know how those stories end – OR DO WE? In This Fresh Hell, every story begins with a well-known horror trope but ends with a twist, bringing new life and unexpected resolutions to old ideas. Emerging and established authors from around the world reignite and subvert horror tropes in 19 wholly original, genre-bending stories.
Among these unexpected tales, a Slender Man offers help to a boy in trouble; a restorer develops an unusual bond with a cursed doll; a heartbroken influencer tests her mettle aboard a luxurious cruise from hell; a haunted house hesitates to terrify its new residents… Ranging from the chilling to the quirky, these are stories for dedicated horror fans as well as those dipping their toes into the genre for the first time.

 

And look at the wonderful cover by Claire L. Smith (@clairelsmxth on IG)

This Fresh Hell cover
This Fresh Hell cover design by Claire L Smith

In this fearsome fray you’ll find a story I co-authored with the dedicated, decorated, devoted writer Eugen Bacon.

Our story  PAPERWEIGHT is about a librarian, a cursed stone, a love-struck innocent (or not-so-innocent) and the fear of being buried alive…

This Fresh Hell presents stories by:

A.J. Vrana, Annie McCann, C. Vonzale Lewis, Candace Robinson, Chuck McKenzie, Claire L. Smith, Claire Low, Clare E. Rhoden, Elle Beaumont, Eugen Bacon, Gillian Polack, Greg Herren, Jason Franks, Katya de Becerra, L.J.M. Owen, Narrelle M. Harris, Raymond Gates, Sarah Glenn Marsh, Sarah Robinson-Hatch, Tansy Rayner Roberts.

I trust you’ll enjoy this marvellous collection. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and read all the other terrifying stories!

Book cover This Fresh Hell
You can pre-order your copy NOW using the link below.

THIS FRESH HELL Pre-orders:

Australia/International: www.clandestinepress.net/products/this-fresh-hell

USA/North America: https://improbablepress.com/products/this-fresh-hell

Short List Excitement

Cover of From the Waste Land

From The Waste Land: three Waste Land stories make the Aurealis cut

This week, the savvy judges of the Aurealis Awards (Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards) announced their short lists in the various categories for 2022 publications:
https://aurealisawards.org/2023/03/09/2022-aurealis-awards-shortlist-announcement/

And I’m deeply THRILLED to see that THREE stories from the anthology From the Waste Land: speculative fiction inspired by T.S. Eliot (requested, chosen and edited by me!) have made the short list in their categories.

Best Horror Short Story: Geneve Flynn, for ‘Lidless Eyes That See’

Author Geneve Flynn, short-listed for ‘Lidless Eyes That See’

Best Science Fiction Short Story: Grace Chan, for ‘Death By Water’

Author Grace Chan, short-listed for ‘Death By Water’

Best Horror Novella: Jeff Clulow, for ‘Rats Alley’

Author Jeff Clulow
Author Jeff Clulow, short-listed for ‘Rats Alley’

You can read these fabulous tales, and sixteen other absolute beauties, NOW. I have real live copies of the paperback version.*

From the Waste Land, edited by Clare Rhoden. Available now from AmazonAU (from $39.00, free postage for Prime members) and BookDepository ($53.89, free postage).

*And watch out for an announcement…

about copies available through my website for only $38.00 including postage (Australia only). Coming very very soon! Email me on clare[at]clarerhoden.com if you’d like to reserve a copy

 

Book lovers give the best Christmas gifts!

Looking for a special present for a special someone? These “December specials” might suit you. While stocks last, you can get three fabulous deals:

DEAL #1 — How to Survive Your Magical Family 

A sweet magical coming-of-age novel for ages 11+ and all cat lovers

One signed paperback and a small cat-themed gift, plus free standard postage, for only $22.95 (Australia only). Order it by December 12th for pre-Christmas delivery.

Magical Family with wrapping
Time to wrap up your gifts for book lovers

DEAL #2 — The Stars in the Night

My historical novel of the Great War. Buy one signed paperback plus free standard postage for only $19.95 (Australia only). Order it by December 12th for pre-Christmas delivery.***

Book The Stars in the Night
‘An emotional and beautifully-written novel about a war that should never be forgotten’

DEAL #3 — The Chronicles of the Pale Box Set

A stunning dystopian world with heart, soul, and hope. For ages 15+. 

The complete Chronicles, with one copy of all three novels, signed, plus standard postage for only $45.95. Order the box set by December 12th for pre-Christmas delivery.

three books of chronicles of the pale
The Chronicles Box Set … won’t come in this box!

“Progressing through the series, I was in awe of the author’s ability to handle grief and intense drama, yet bring hope, faith, loyalty and kindness into such abysmal chaos.”

 

Thank you for reading and sharing my books.

And please remember how awesome it is if you ask your local library to order one of my books. It helps me to reach readers and adds it mite to the upkeep of the writing attic, all at no cost to you. Thanks!!

How to Survive Your Magical Family

cat and book cover

How to Survive Your Magical Family is here.

I have actual paperback copies in hand and I’m thrilled.

smiling woman with book
It’s here! How to Survive Your Magical Family is in the hands of readers. Enjoy!

Here’s the blurb of my new book:

Toby’s family is no ordinary family.

They are magical, talented, and special.

Toby’s father is a surgeon and his older sister is a lawyer. But Toby’s dad is also a renowned wizard, and so is his uncle, and his sister can influence people. His mum was special too, but she had to leave…

Toby isn’t any of those things. The only special thing he can do is pretty useless. Toby can talk with cats.

When Toby and his sister rescue a family of abandoned cats on the side of the road and Toby spots a mysterious silver bangle in the gutter, everything changes.

Mia is Toby’s best friend. She’s not magical either – she doesn’t even know magic exists! But when she watches Toby get on the wrong bus to school and a ferocious bus driver screams away with Toby on board, Mia’s world is about to change too.

How to Survive Your Magical Family is an exciting adventure filled with mystery, cats, friendship, and of course, magic!

girl reading e book
Making little waves in reader-land: How to Survive Your Magical Family

If you love cats, or magic – and especially both! – this is your book. For confident readers 10+, and cat lovers of all ages. It’s a book with a dual point of view (‘dual POV’ in book-speak), with half of the story told by Toby and half told by Mia.

cat posing for scratches
Is this Katkin the arch-cat? Image by rihaij from Pixabay

I’ve made a page all about this new book, including a variety of buy links, and I’m also putting together a page of CAT LINKS!

If you love cats, you might want to check it out.

And if you have any great cat sites that should be included, please let me know!

Miaow for now, my friends.

From the Waste Land – sharpening your appetite

From the Waste Land

Hey everyone! I’m re-blogging this fab post about From the Waste Land by one of the amazing contributors. I’m sure you’ll agree that reading just a little of this will sharpen your appetite for the entire anthology.

We can’t wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, try this:

From the Waste Land – a new anthology by contributor BP Marshall*

*and a reminder about his wonderful novel The Last Circus on Earth

The Last Circus on Earth by BP Marshall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And also admire the fab graphic created by multi-talented contributor Cat Sparks!

From the Waste Land
From the Waste Land edited by Clare Rhoden, graphic by Cat Sparks

 

From the Waste Land: announcing the stories!

wooden bridge in snow

One hundred years ago…

TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, a masterpiece of modernism, reaches back into legend and forward into dystopia. First published in October 1922, the poem resonates with the grief of the Great War.

You know, ‘the war to end all wars’…

A hundred years later, we can easily empathise with that mood. But we also know that, despite our fears, humanity continues its struggle to find the goodness and the light.

Autumn 2022

I’m thrilled to announce that later this year PS Publishing UK will release our anthology From the Waste Land: stories inspired by TS Eliot (edited by Clare Rhoden), marking the centenary of publication!

PS Publishing UK
PS Publishing UK has acquired our anthology

Meet the stories

With a mix of ghost stories, sci-fi, fantasy and apocalyptic tales, these original stories conjure wastelands from the 1500s to many centuries ahead.

You’ll also find hope for humanity and a belief in our shared future.

You’ve already met the wonderful team of authors; now let me introduce the contents.

Delightful, shocking, unique, extraordinary… you’re sure to find something amazing in these gems of speculative fiction.

From the Waste Land: contents

Death by Water, by Grace Chan
A Winter Respite, by Clare Rhoden
She Who Walks Behind You, by Leanbh Pearson
The Watcher of Greenwich, by Laura E. Goodin
Exhausted Wells, by Tee Linden
Rats Alley, by Jeff Clulow
Fragments of Ruin, by B.P. Marshall
Dead Men, by Cat Sparks
A Dusty Handful, by Aveline Perez de Vera
Lidless Eyes That See, by Geneve Flynn
A Witch’s Bargain, by Rebecca Dale
And Fiddled Whisper Music on Those Strings, by Eugen Bacon
Mountain of Death, by Austin P. Sheehan
Fawdaze, by Rebecca Fraser
Over the Mountains, by Tim Law
A Shadow in This Red Rock, by Louise Zedda Sampson
Dry Bones, by Robert Hood
April, by Francesca Bussey
The Violet Hour, by Nikky Lee

sunrise
Autumn sunrise … hope for the future (photo C Rhoden)

Keep an eye out for more news as this exciting project nears completion.

Personally, I can’t wait for the cover reveal!

Where The Weird Things Are, edited by Clare Rhoden and Austin P Sheehan

book cover

I’m delighted to announce a new member of the family: Where The Weird Things Are Volume 1 is here!

A collection of strange and sometimes spooky stories, Where The Weird Things Are Volume 1 is your guide to travelling Australia and Aotearoa … but with fantastic and freaky adventures.

My story ‘A Beechy Boy’ was inspired by the little bush block we had for a long time at Gellibrand River in Victoria’s Otway Ranges. Some of you have visited me there! My, it was beautiful.

But that persistent fog. Those strange noises in the night. That creeping cold. That monstrous king wallaby. That sense of remoteness in the night.

They all come together in a story that riffs off the old ‘Little Boy Lost’ tale. I hope you enjoy it!

Available now as an e book at the Zon: Weird Things Vol 1 e book

 

And as a paperback on Booktopia: Weird Things Vol 1 PB

 

And I’ll have my own paperback copies coming soon, for anyone who wants it signed.

Where the Weird Things Are Volume 1 is published by Deadset Press, one of Australia’s foremost independent publishers of awesome speculative fiction (PS, check out their site for new story calls!)

From the Wasteland: what’s it all about?

A new anthology of speculative fiction called From the Wasteland will gather original stories inspired by TS Eliot’s The Waste Land  

I first had the idea for this collection last December while walking the Empress (otherwise known as Aeryn Spoodle).  I was listening to an episode of ABC Classics’ The Game Show (music from video games). This episode had a very dark theme. Naturally my mind turned to my studies into First World War literature, and then to The Waste Land.

The Waste Land begins with a chapter titled The Burial of the Dead. The very first line says that ‘April is the cruellest month’. What an attention-grabbing start!

The 434-line poem is Eliot’s extended lament for the lost lives and the destruction of the 1914-1918 war. He’s talking about the collapse of civilised behaviour, the wanton wreckage, the widespread despair. And he does it in style.

Australian headstones at Tyne Cot cemetery
Australian headstones at Tyne Cot cemetery on the Western Front (my photo from my 2011 study tour)

When I got home from my walk, I looked up the poem, recalling that it includes dozens of splendid lines. Then I discovered (re-discovered?) that the poem’s first publication was in 1922.

Lo and behold, 2022 would be the centenary!

The idea of an anthology of Wasteland stories burst into my head. Wow! so many good lines there that are almost irresistible as story titles – for something in literary speculative fiction genres. (Literary spec fic? Think Margaret Attwood and Octavia Butler.) Look at these phrases for a start, all from The Waste Land:

  • a heap of broken images
  • they called me the hyacinth girl
  • looking into the heart of light
  • the barbarous king
  • are you alive, or not?

I’ve invited a select band of other active speculative fiction authors to write short stories springing from Eliot’s poem. I’m thrilled to say that we are a merry band of 19 writers. You can see more about them here.

snow covered trees
My story is based on line 5 of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land’: Winter kept us warm, covering earth in forgetful snow’, from the first section of the poem, ‘The Burial of the Dead’.

‘From the Waste Land: speculative fiction inspired by Eliot’ will include ghost stories, fantasy, horror, steampunk, dystopia and queer romance. All will be intriguing and amazing tales.

I’m doing my best to ensure that this anthology will come out in the second half of 2022 to coincide with the poem’s centenary. I’m very busy querying publishers–no easy feat when we don’t actually have a completed manuscript on hand yet! And of course, I’m writing up a storm with my collaborators…

It’s going to be fabulous. Keep an eye peeled for more news about this wonderful project.

More new stories: 2022 writing projects

Welcome to 2022

A year of potential, of reckoning, of change and reassessment. A year of the Tiger, a strong character who banishes evil and demonstrates courage. It’s a year to keep going.

For me, 2022 is a year for new writing projects, and the completion of earlier ones. Let me show you my planned journey.

New writing projects

From the WasteLand

An anthology of literary speculative fiction inspired by TS Eliot’s seminal poem The Waste Land, first published in October 1922.

Stories inspired by one of the most important poems of the 20th century

If you are unfamiliar with the poem, suffice it to say that it’s as long as a novella, and its subject matter is the fragmentation of society during and after World War One (WWI). All in beautiful, strange, evocative words. I’ll be writing a lot more about this project soon. It’s going to be wonderful and amazing.

Peggy’s Story

A companion novel to The Stars in the Night

In this novel, I’m focussing on the Australian home front during WWI.

I’m writing a new novel about the women left at home during WWI

If you’re familiar with Stars, you’ll know that it’s the story of two brothers, Harry and Eddie, who fight at Gallipoli and in France. This new book will fill in all the gaps about what was happening back in Semaphore. More about this story as it progresses. I hope to have the whole manuscript completed this year to submit for publishing in 2023 or 2024.

Where the Weird Things Are

Aussie Speculative Fiction are about to publish a guide to the fantastic, freaky, and far-out in Australia and New Zealand.

Coming in early 2022, Where the Weird Things Are Volume 1 will feature a story of mine, inspired by our former bush block in the Otway Ranges.

How could a kangaroo inspire a horror story?

I’ll be working on the edits soon and I can’t wait to see this tale in print.

How to Survive Your Magical Family

My middle-grade novel

Don’t worry, How to Survive Your Magical Family is definitely coming this year, from the wonderful Odyssey Books. There have been just too many interruptions to the publishing industry, and too much pressure on staff due to the pandemic.

How to Survive Your Magical Family (2022 release)
How to Survive Your Magical Family (2022 release)

I’m now hoping for a February release. And I’ll most definitely keep you updated!

Forthcoming stories

In 2021, I kept busy with some substantial shorter fiction for themed anthologies, as well as the odd little tale for drabble collections (a drabble is a tale told in EXACTLY 100 words, no more, no less).

New Tales of Old Volume 2

New fantasy tales based on old myths, fairy stories and legends.

New Tales of Old Vol 2

This features my story ‘Starting Over’, set in the same world as The Chronicles of the Pale. It’s being published by Black Ink Fiction — and yes, I’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.

Fantasy on Four Feet

Tales from the animal kingdom: fantasy stories coming in 2022

Original stories from the animal kingdom

This fantastic (pun intended) anthology is coming from Black Ink Fiction in March. My story features the Cwn Annwn, ghostly hounds of the Welsh hunt.

Ancient Gods

Stories about a fantasy ancient kingdom inspired by Greek myths and legends

Ancient Gods: tales inspired by Greek mythology (2022)

In this wholly realised world, gods and demons vie for supremacy, with humans at risk. Twelve inter-linked stories unfold the tale of the semi-divine women who must face the demons. My story is  ‘Ione and the Sea Demon’. This is also coming from Black Ink Fiction in 2022.

Cursed Shards

Fantasy tales of a malevolent magic mirror

Lady Marian’s Gambit in Cursed Shards…coming in 2022

An ancient curse, a lingering threat: these stories tell of the evil effects of the broken mirror’s curse. The stories are all based on legends and all feature the fateful Fae mirror. My story ‘Lady Marian’s Gambit’ plays with the Robin Hood legend. This is coming in 2022 from the groundbreaking Australian independent Black Hare Press.

Winter Shocks

This wintry horror collection features my drabble about the Sugar Plum Fairy. The book is available now from Black Ink Fiction. Here’s a link: Winter Shocks

Winter Shocks – tiny tales of terror published by Black Ink Fiction

And not forgetting From the WasteLand

…but a whole lot more about that next time.

Till then, happy reading.