Book of Never Playing Cards – Out Now!

Hello! It’s been a little while since I posted here, and this one’s a fiction update actually – but there’s a poetry one right around the corner 😀

Today I wanted to mention that I have a deck of cards project based on some of my fiction and it’s out now, they’re based on my Book of Never-themed playing cards! You can actually grab one direct from the manufacturer already, the deck will contain:

  • Standard 54 card deck (the four suits + two jokers)
  • Glossy finish
  • Custom design for background and pips
  • Portrait-style character art for ‘royals’ by Lin Hsiang, the artist who does the Never book covers

I’m very happy about these being ready to share – it’s been nearly a year to the day since I first e-mailed Lin about creating the art, so it’s exciting for the project to come full circle now 🙂


I’ll have a few decks here with me soon but they’re more expensive for me to ship from Australia – though I’m still happy to do it, of course, if anyone would like me to. I had considered signing a few… but it’d be impossible without ruining the art. Maybe the box? I dunno – what would be better is if I could get the artists to sign, since they’ve done the real work here, but that could be tricky in terms of logistics.

In any event, if you are keen to order a set of cards they’re around $20 from the manufacturer (as per the link above) before shipping. (It’d be more like $30-50 w/shipping if you ordered from me, depending on how far away you are from Australia.)

If you do decide to order a set I hope you enjoy the art – there’s a fair few character images that I haven’t shared yet, but you can see the previously shared ones in this newsletter. Shawn T King who handled the design came up with going with silver and gold for the suit colours, to better contrast with the dark ‘regular’ card backgrounds, and I’m pretty thrilled with how everything looks! (Below is just an overview of the colour, the suits don’t mix silver and gold within themselves of course)

(On a bit of a side note, I’d love to know how fast the shipping tends to be if you get a deck, or what you thought about the art, so please feel free to send off a quick e-mail if you get the chance!)


Until later in the month!



‘Magpie Tales’ by SB Wright + ‘The Frequency of God’ by Mark William Jackson

Close-Up Books is very proud to announce the release of two new poetry collections by Australian Poets Mark William Jackson and SB Wright 🙂

Working with both Sean and Mark has been really rewarding for us; to get so close to the works within has been pretty exciting and so we’re thrilled to release two great collections into the world today!  It’s been a busy few months for everyone in the lead up to publication and we’d like to thank both Mark and Sean for working so hard.

Please visit the Close-Up Books website to read and hear sample poems from both collections and see what we’ve enjoyed so much about The Frequency of God and Magpie Tales!

Ashley & Brooke




In Magpie Tales Australian poet SB Wright reveals a keen eye for capturing both people and places, his deft imagery transports the reader effortlessly from rural Australia and beyond. The pieces within explore a changing inner landscape too, where the contested terrain of small town identities and national issues are played out in clear, lyrical verse.

Sample the collection here




In The Frequency of God, Australian poet Mark William Jackson is by turns reflective and rallying, as he explores closeness and distance, love and change, and perfectly articulates the hostile coopting of social space by technology.

Sample the collection here









The Yellow Butterfly & Other Stories – Out Now!

Long time no post here, but I’m back today to share a new release 🙂

The Yellow Butterfly & Other Stories is a collection of short fiction that brings together some of my previously published and unpublished stories from the last 5 years or so. Here’s the blurb:


Leap into worlds like and unlike our own

A creepy restaurant stalks its customers, steampunk slaves find a new home in the Australian desert, storybook characters come alive to make deals with the Roman God of Sleep and in the future, a synthetic society suffers dark consequences of endless augmentation… all these stories and more lurk within.

A collection of short fiction featuring steampunk, cyberpunk, fantasy and even a little horror!


It’s currently available across a wide range of retailers as an ebook for $2.99 and as a paperback for around $15-$20 or you can enter a Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win a print copy right here 🙂


Cover Art for ‘The Peaks of Autumn’ (Never #4)

Hi! Just in case you might have missed this over on my fiction blog, I thought I’d share this here too – especially as I’m so very happy with the fantastic work from Lin and Vivid Covers 🙂

(I’m especially thrilled with the beautiful change in colour from top to bottom)

(due Oct 7th)

(due Oct 7th)

‘River God’ Release Day!

River God Release Day! (Well, for certain hemispheres 😀 – just a few more hours and it’s the 1st in the US too)

For those of you following Never’s story you can see the ebook the print edition of the first 3 volumes below, (also available through other retailers – a small list is here)

e –
p –

A Forest of Eyes: Book of Never 2 – Available Now

Never’s second adventure is out now!
Below is a universal link for Amazon, which ought to take you directly to the store relevant to your region. River God (Book 3) is now just less than two months away and The Amber Isle (Book 1) is just over two months old 🙂

If you’re new to the series, I’ve got Book 1 on special for $1 at the moment – same as the launch-week price for A Forest of Eyes.


Purchase Link:


About the Books

For a little bit of background, I wanted to talk a bit about the path to publication and even some aims I have for the Never series.

Back in December 2014, I sketched an outline for an epic fantasy/adventure story that would follow its main character on a quest to discover his true name.

There was not a lot of detail back then, but what I did know was that I wanted a five part the story and that each part (or release) would feature a distinct setting with a specific goal and resolution, even as the main character’s search remained the unifying theme across the books.

I had a bit of a idea in mind too, that if someone asked me about series I could answer in two ways:

Epic fantasy without the epic length


Imagine Indiana Jones with magic and more sarcasm

In regards to the first statement, to expand a little – I wanted to keep the epic scope and sweep of world changing events common to epic fantasy, but I didn’t want to tell the tale across say, fifteen 700+ page books. (I have nothing against long books by the way, but the story I had in mind didn’t feel like that style).
And so The Book of Never is a five book series and the first three are novella-length, whereas the last two books are going to be closer to full-length novels. I felt this would better suit the adventure-feel to the series too.

For the second statement, I have to jump back to New Year’s Day, 2015 when I started the first draft of book one: The Amber Isle. (Most cunningly, I called that particular Word document ‘Never – Book 1’.)

By now, I had a name for my main character: Never and a central problem to go with it – Never didn’t know his true name and before we meet him in the book, a long, futile search has already made him a little bitter, a quality which is shown through his frustration and sarcasm.

By the time I finished that first draft of The Amber Isle I knew both the treasure-hunting and time spent exploring lost ruins and ancient civilisations lent it that Indiana Jones feel. Thus, I had a well-established point of reference for readers. Assuming said readers also liked epic fantasy and magic, it was my hope that people would enjoy the mix of adventure and fantasy in the Never books.

If I jump forward to the 1st of March 2016, it’s the release of The Amber Isle and Never’s quest has started. For those of you reading this post who are unfamiliar with the story, here’s a mini blurb:

Roguish Never is on a quest to lift a curse on his blood and to learn his true name; but upon joining a group of treasure-hunters he soon finds himself unearthing world-altering secrets that have long lain dormant within the mysterious Amber Isle.

The story mostly takes place on and within a series of islands called the Grey Chain, as Never searches for the Amber Isle and the secrets within.

Each subsequent book features a different setting:

A Forest of Eyes sees Never heading into the White Wood, hot on the trail of more clues to the truth and then in River God he spends most of the story navigating rivers and the dangers within. By the forth book (The Peaks of Autumn, due in October) he has climbed into the mountains and finally, when Imperial Towers is released, you’ll see the bulk of the action take place in deadly cities.

Here’s the schedule if you wanted to keep an eye on the stories:

Book of Never 1: The Amber Isle                – March 1st 2016
Book of Never 2: A Forest of Eyes              – May 1st 2016
Book of Never 3: River God                          – July 1st 2016
Book of Never 4: The Peaks of Autumn    – October 1st 2016
Book of Never 5: Imperial Towers             – January 1st 2017

It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy the central mystery surrounding Never’s name and heritage, but also the exploration and adventure offered by the world I’m developing 🙂

As I’ve mentioned earlier, A Forest of Eyes is out today and draft one of The Peaks of Autumn is ‘resting’ while River God is with my editor.

While at present the books are only available as ebooks, July 1st will be a twin release – both the River God ebook AND an omnibus/collected print edition of books 1 – 3 will be available for purchase.

If you happen to check out Never, I’d love to hear what you think of his story 🙂

Thanks for reading!



For the first week of May, you can also win a prize pack featuring both ebooks simply by sharing either cover image on twitter and tagging me (so I know you’ve shared 🙂 )

Alternatively, if you’d like to sign up to my newsletter you will receive a copy of The Amber Isle upon doing so.