Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.
She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.
The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn't leave her alone.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Western Australia, where everything's trying to kill you. The little spiders want to bite and kill you. The big spiders scare the hell out of you, but they're okay, because they eat the little spiders. My cat used to bring home live, venomous snakes and leave them on the doorstep. Sometimes the beaches are closed because there are 5 m long sharks swimming close to shore. The local birds are so big, they use my cat for target practice with their pine-cone grenades. You don't drive at night outside the city unless you're willing to have your car taken out by a kamikaze kangaroo - and I've seen a big buck 'roo write off a four wheel drive.
My writing has a distinct Aussie flavour, which includes the local wildlife. I mean, even my romance has whales, possums and snakes in it.
When did you first start writing?
I think I started trying to write books when I was twelve, with the faint beginnings of what is now my Nightmares trilogy. I submitted the first manuscript to a publisher when I was twelve, too - which, thankfully, was rejected, because it was terrible.
I didn't seriously start writing again until I was thirty, when I was inspired to write the story that became Ocean's Gift. It spawned a whole series...and even I don't know how many books are in it.
One hot Aussie rock star looking for love in paradise. Why did he have to pick HER hotel?Welcome to the Romance Island Resort, where the romance is as hot as the weather and the tides aren't all that's surging beneath the surface.
A collection of folktales, fairytales and legends from all over the world, from Ancient Rome to the present day. Be warned: these are the original tales, before they were censored to be suitable for children.
A maid at the exclusive Romance Island Resort, Audra knows how to handle rock stars, billionaires and celebrities. She keeps their secrets, cleans up their mess and makes sure their holiday is a memorable one. There's just one rule: no relationships with guests. And Audra never breaks the rules.
Then she meets rock god Jay Felix...and all bets are off.
Maria thought her troubles would be over, but a new storm is brewing with the power to sweep away everything she holds dear.
When Maria's mother appears, insisting that Maria return to the ocean and threatening the lives of everyone she loves, Maria is faced with a heartbreaking choice: what price will she pay to protect both her husband and her unborn child from her own family?
Love and babies: two things Lucy has no time for in her life.
Until Giorgio. The moment their eyes meet across the fish market, he knows Lucy's the girl for him. If it weren't for his reputation as a rake, maybe he could catch more than just her eye – perhaps even her heart, too.
A tale of crabs, cricket bats and catching your heart's desire in Jazz Age Western Australia.
Forced to choose between the ocean and the man she loves, Maria accepts the gilded cage of her life on land. But the ocean will not be thwarted so easily. All Maria wants is to live happily ever after with her husband. But between the crazed crabs, a mysterious illness and a monstrous shark, Maria may need all her skills as a siren to succeed. Can one woman oppose the ocean and win?
Reunited with the man she loves, Maria agrees to become his wife and is catapulted into the cream of Christmas Island society. All Maria wants is to spend time with her new husband, learning to ride a motorcycle and sneaking off for a romantic swim. But with all eyes upon her, Maria begins to doubts she has what it takes to be a society wife. And the ocean's siren call is growing stronger…
A mysterious castaway. A Scottish hero determined to protect her. Can they survive the storm?
William boarded a ship in search of adventure, but he gets more than he bargained for when he saves Maria from the sea. Maria carries a terrible secret. Wherever she goes, death follows, and she's powerless to prevent it.
With the sharks circling and a storm closing in, are sirens more than just a myth?
Smuggled ashore by Merry D’Angelo, Maria begins her new life in the colonial port of Fremantle.
With the help of a fisherman named Tony, she fights to find her place among a people so different to her own.
Yet danger lurks beneath the surface as her past races to catch up with her; threatening her future and her friends, and forcing her to choose between her old love and the new.
Maria thought stowing away on a ship to follow the man she loves was a great idea – but sleeping in the cargo hold and fighting rats for food isn’t at all what she bargained for, and that’s before she reaches her destination: desolate Christmas Island.
Now the man who was once her world won’t even look at her. It’s time to lay the ghosts of their past to rest…or are some ghosts not dead at all?
Tales From the Easter Quadrant
on Jan. 26, 2013
A story about an ordinary bloke making the best of what life gives him, finding his own place in the universe.
Spaceships, experimental weapons, a host of ladies with no end of unusual qualities…yeah, Ecks doesn’t really have it so bad, unless you count his prison time and the comrades he loses along the way.
He’s no pure hero, as he’s more in the mould of Han Solo than Luke Skywalker, but it’s the realism of his character that makes him so easy to relate to. Even as he’s lighting a cigarette and picking his preference from Xax Girls TV, dodgy though it might be.
It’s like Stargate with strippers, Star Wars with steampunk and yet…it’s in a class all its own. If only Ecks didn’t smoke so much.
A Gift in the Dark
on May 17, 2013
Pratchett, Poe and the Apocalypse
From Death to the apocalypse to mining in Cornwall – Gavin Wilson can certainly spin a yarn. In the satirical style of Pratchett, with some of the horror elements I liked in Poe, he managed to keep me from reading anything else until I’d finished his book.
I picked this up on the train and didn’t want to put my Kindle away when I reached work.
I can’t even say which story I liked best, as it’s a close competition between Godmother and Blood Red Moon.
I think the worst bit of the whole book was my audible disappointment as I reached the end – the apocalypse, indeed! Given the price, it was worth every cent, but I admit I’d have liked to be reading for longer.
Any chance of a second Gift, Mr Wilson?
on Aug. 25, 2013
Not a straightforward romance...
Of course, I didn't expect a straightforward shipboard romance - and not just because the couple in question aren't straight, either. L V Lloyd isn't one to write a standard plot without twisting it at least a little.
Funny in places, sweet in others...lovely light reading for sure. I would say it's more romance than science fiction, as it's easy to get lost in the story and forget it takes place on a space ship.
I admit I was disappointed it was so short - I was 80% through it before I realised it was almost over.Luckily, I already have the sequel - and I hope it's as good as this, the first book in her Aurigan Space series.
I'd love to see what the Star Trek writers would do if they saw this one...especially with Lloyd's example of just how impractical one-piece uniforms can be.
on Sep. 15, 2013
I had difficulty putting this one down - and I don't read romance, as a rule.
So to find Peter Francis - a character I already liked from the beginning - wasn't a man at all, I thought of my favourite Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. Yet the style was more like something out of one of Jane Austen's books, as the title tells you exactly when it's set - Regency England.
While maintaining a careful balance between description, romance and action, Vera Loy kept me riveted from start to finish.
Poor, confused Richard Carleton...ah, but I won't spoil it for you, as this story does have surprises in it that I certainly didn't expect.
I think the bit that disappointed me most was discovering that Peter Francis wasn't a man, for he was the character I loved most throughout the book. For that I blame Ms Loy - she wrote the character far too well. It didn't detract from the story in the slightest, though, as the gender contrasts are clearer in this book than in any of Austen's and make for some very funny plot twists.
Well worth reading, I'm pleased I purchased this book, so I can read it again.
on May 27, 2014
A cool concept, mashing science fiction and fantasy along the lines of Tad Williams in his Otherland series. Of course, Mr Miller takes us one step further - into a Matrix-like necessity where the humans who don't tap into the virtual reality face the prospect of uncertain death in a post-apocalyptic world. Adding an element of sleeper agents, or non-humans infiltrating the human population, like in Battlestar Galactica, just ups the suspense factor in what is a fascinating science fiction thriller.
There's a huge amount of technical detail in this book, so if you're passionate about knowing precisely the model number of the weapon used...this is definitely for you.