Celebrating Odyssey Books Ten Year Milestone with a Special Discount of A Perfect Square

Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of Odyssey Books with a Special Discount of A Perfect Square

Odyssey Books have been going since 2009. They are a terrific little press, punching above their weight, with an impressive list of authors and high calibre titles. I joined the small press in 2015 when Odyssey Books released my first two novels, Asylum and The Drago Tree. In 2016, they published my third novel, A Perfect Square. This weekend, Odyssey Books are having a special sale of A Perfect Square to celebrate their anniversary! (check out the other titles they have on offer in July)

ABOUT A PERFECT SQUARE

Across two continents, two sets of mothers and daughters are bound by a dark mystery.

On a winter’s day in the Dandenongs, Victoria, pianist Ginny returns home to stay with her eccentric mother and artist, Harriet. Consumed by disturbing dreams, speculations and remembering, she tries to prise from her mother the truth concerning her father’s disappearance and why, when she was seven, Harriet abducted her. In an effort to distract her daughter’s interrogations, Harriet proposes they collaborate on an exhibition of paintings and songs.

Meanwhile, on the edge of Dartmoor, Judith paints landscapes of the Australian Outback to soothe her troubled mind. Her wayward daughter, Madeleine, has returned home and she’s filled the house with darkness. Her father doesn’t want to know her. Judith wishes he did. When at last she forces the two to meet she breathes a sigh of relief.

Back in Australia, Ginny is poised to fly to England in search of the truth when she receives some earth-shattering news.

A novel brimming with mystery, intrigue, creativity, art and the occult.

 

ONLY $0.99 on Kindle viewbook.at/PerfectSquare

 

A Very Special Review of A Perfect Square

About forty five minutes by car to the east of Melbourne brings you to the Dandenongs. A small mountain range strewn with a magical semi-tropical rainforest, full of tall mountain ash, giant tree ferns and crystal trickling creeks.  Mast Gully was so named by an old sailing captain, in the days of the first settlers, who said the tall straight trees reminded him of nothing so much as a forest of ships masts. The area has attracted artists and musicians since its very earliest days, the painter Tom Roberts used to live and paint here, and William Ricketts of the famous sanctuary in Olinda, used to be a jazz clarinettist. A bustling, vibrant, ever-changing colony of artistic types has inhabited the hills, gullies and quaint little towns ever since.

It is in this idyllic setting that Isobel Blackthorn has placed ‘A Perfect Square’. At the heart of this delightful tale is an artistic collaboration between Harriet, a somewhat neurotic painter with a hidden past, and her daughter Ginny, a musician with deep questions about her absent father. At the same time far across the sea on the moors of Dorset, England, another mother daughter relationship is being played out by Judith and her daughter Madeleine. Judith too, is a painter, also wrestling with her work and her past and her relationships. The two stories play as counterpoint to each other, as the story ducks and weaves around Astrology, Art history, music, occultism and the power of a past, not fully come to terms with, to invade and choke the present.  As the two girls become unhappier, winter approaches, the gallery presentation comes nearer, and the story itself begins to become darker before finally resolving in very surprising ways.

There is more than a touch of ‘AbFab’ about the relationships between some of the characters, and as someone with more than a passing acquaintanceship with the Dandenongs, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed spending time with them all. I have known these people, gone to their homes and eaten their food and drunk their wine, far into the evening. Musicians and practitioners of the static Arts will find much to interest them in this story as both subjects are not merely touched upon but form an integral part of the structure of this tale.

In a case of ‘life imitating Art’ or ‘Art imitating life’, the authors own daughter has contributed musical works that echo the collaboration in the story, and these are also available to the reader through web links at the back of the book?

I was somewhat hesitant approaching ‘A Perfect Square’ as something seemed to be saying that it might have been a little too serious for my mood. I could not have been more wrong.  I heartily recommend this to anyone who likes fascinating and believable characters, well drawn settings and just enough mystery to keep the whole thing bubbling along nicely. The sort of book you almost want to start reading again, the moment you have finished it, and I have to confess, I enjoyed it immensely…

– Film and Book Critic, Philip A. Wallis.

Accompanying music by jazz pianist and composer Elizabeth Blackthorn:

https://elizabethblackthorn.bandcamp.com/album/a-perfect-square

https://open.spotify.com/album/6BWFjoq8tuvyrg7w9FYjUC

https://music.apple.com/us/album/a-perfect-square-ep/1149154120

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Reading from The Cabin Sessions on The New Panic Room Radio Show

I’m super excited and just a little bit spooked to be reading from my dark psychological thriller, The Cabin Sessions on The Panic Room Radio Show, hosted by horror/bizarro author and blog radio personality James H Longmore and Dark Poet Princess Xtina Marie.

new release! The Cabin Sessions – for those who like their horror dark and psychological.

 

The question for me is, which segment? Well here’s the weird bit. I recall a section I really like, bring up my Mobi file on my Tablet, scroll along at random…and somehow manage to land on the exact page.

 

Tune in tomorrow, Friday 3rd November from 1.30pm .  http://www.panicroomradio.com/   

If you’d like to hear me, here are more dates for the diary…

The Cabin Sessions and Alex Legg: A novel in memory of a remarkable musician

I didn’t plan to write a horror novel. Not at first. Although the elements were there from the start.

The genesis of The Cabin Sessions began in 2012, during a period of my life in which I attended an open mic every Wednesday night without fail. The open mic was held in a log cabin up in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne, Australia. I was living with the host, Scottish troubadour and gifted songwriter, Alex Legg. Every Wednesday, I would help him carry in the gear. I drank the rider. At the end of the night, making sure I didn’t stagger, I would help pack up.

That year, I was writing short stories in between being Alex’s groupie. I had yet to write my first novel, probably because I was having too much fun going to his gigs. I knew all his songs inside out and loved every single one of them. Naturally.

One night, on the way back down the mountain to our home, I had the idea that an open mic would make a good setting for a novel. Alex enthused straight away. The next day we sat in a cafe in Sassafras and cooked up the story. This is where we sat.

Together we came up with a bunch of characters, including his doppelgänger, Benny Muir, who appears in my short story, ‘All Because of You’, named after one of his songs.

 

Alex supplied me with tips and quips and odd insights that could only come from an open mic host. With a notebook full of jottings, I figured out a plot and set to work.

Three chapters of composing later and our relationship came to an abrupt end. My creative spark for the story was gone and I shelved the project.

Two years went by and my life changed dramatically. I moved interstate. I wrote like fury and as 2014 neared its end, I had my first novel on submission, another serialised on my blog, and my third in the making.

That December, I received news that Alex had passed away. It was a huge shock for everyone. He was loved and appreciated by so many. He nurtured many a talent and was hugely supportive of local musicians. A foundation has been formed to keep his legacy alive. The Alex Legg Memorial Foundation

Taken in Belgrave by Kylie Horner.

It was early 2015 and I felt compelled to preserve his memory. I toyed with writing a memoir of those two beautiful years we shared, a memoir I had conceived when we were still together, one filled with anecdotes from all his friends past and present, but I soon decided the emotion involved would be too intense.

In the process of reminiscing those precious years I had with Alex, I re-read my old notes and chapters of  The Cabin Sessions. For me, it was like gazing at old photos. I couldn’t listen to his music. It made me well up too much. So I buried myself in our ideas.

Then, something astonishing happened. I realised Alex’s passing had liberated my story. I made a critical creative decision, and it was as though I had Alex’s permission to do it. I won’t say what it is. After that, things moved fast. In days I was hacking into those early chapters, revising the characters and tightening the plot. There were times I felt Alex was right there with me, urging me on.

The setting for The Cabin Sessions is a version of Warburton, in the Yarra Valley east of Melbourne. It was there, in a cafe that we first met. Our meeting was powerful. Alex even wrote a song about it.

The Cabin Sessions is my way of paying respects to Alex Legg and the two transformative years I spent with him. Even if my offering is grotesque, absurd, hard-hitting, at times deeply confronting and there is not a skerrick of romance to be found. I honestly believe Alex would not have had it any other way.

I am hugely grateful to HellBound Books for believing in this story. HellBound are based in Texas, USA. That feels fitting somehow.

A book launch of The Cabin Sessions is scheduled for December at Leggacy Sessions, the open mic run by the Alex Legg Memorial Foundation every  Wednesday night at Oscar’s Alehouse, Belgrave.

Go here to find out more about The Cabin Sessions

The Cabin Sessions is now available from Amazon.

A Perfect Square reviewed by Kate Braithwaite

I am delighted to share this warm, 5 star review of my novel, A Perfect Square, from Kate Braithwaite, author of Charlatan.

A perfect square

A Perfect Square is a clever, thoughtful literary novel which also manages to have a cracking plot and complex characters.

This is a book that grew and grew on me. I’ll admit to a false start the first time I picked it up. I felt there was a lot of moving around in the characters’ heads to the recent past, the far past and then back to the present. But when I sat down with a proper amount of time to dig into the story it was an absolute pleasure. Blackthorn has a great plot and lots of writing talent. Her descriptions are wonderful – both of people and places – and there was lots of fabulous language to enjoy. I loved the two parallel mother/daughter stories and was impressed by the way they intersected. It was also great to read so much about the creative process and to consider the challenges of creativity and motherhood.

I will certainly look to read Blackthorn’s other work. A Perfect Square is a clever, thoughtful literary novel which still manages to have a cracking plot and complex characters. It should appeal to lovers of psychological thrillers too – think artistic Gone Girl.” – – quoted from Goodreads