Thursday, 2 October 2014

Shifting Sands

I thought it was about time I shared a teaser from the new version of "Absolution" with you all.

As you know, I'm raising money to have a new cover created, to get it professionally edited and formatted, and get it out there on the shelves again for you all. It's been tough going, lemme tell ya - lots of 2am finishes and dragging my sorry ass out of bed to go to my day job a few hours later. Sometimes I wonder why I do this, and then I'll have a "moment".

You know - those moments when you glimpse a long-forgotten passage of prose, where you simply don't recognise the words as your own and you're almost impressed by them.  Or, when a perfect stranger pledges $25 to the campaign to get it re-released, simply because she was captivated by the teaser excerpt shared on the campaign page.  Or, when you see the sheer amount of confidence your friends and family show in you, sharing photos and links on their Facebook walls.

Those are the moments when all of the late nights and second-guessing and "I can't do it!" and "I'll never make it through this in one piece!" (yes, I tend towards the melodramatic at times - don't act surprised) - when all of that is put into perspective.  When you think to yourself "Don't hide. Be proud of what you've done and are doing."  When you think to yourself "It's going to be worth it in the end. Just hang in there."

So, to thank everyone for their continued support, here's a little teaser from the new version. Those of you who read "Absolution" in it's initial release might recognise this teaser, although it has been edited heavily.

And if you like this teaser and would like to pre-order a copy of the ebook, get your name on the Dedications page of both ebook and print version, and go into the draw to for a signed copy of the paperback and a handmade (by me!) Swarovski crystal pendant, don't forget to check out the campaign HERE! It only takes either $5, $10, $20 or $25 and you get lots of rewards, along with my everlasting thanks.

You can read about the reasons behind the re-release HERE.

Right. Teaser time! (As usual, would love it if you would share this link with your friends, and any feedback is welcome!).

"Absolution" by Amanda Dick (redux)
*unedited teaser*

Entering the gloomy bar at this time of night, Callum took a few moments to spot Jack in a booth in the corner. He detoured to order a drink first and Harry nodded in Jack’s direction.
“What’s his poison?” Callum mumbled.
“Whisky. Neat.”
Callum groaned quietly, shaking his head. “Better give me two more.”
He slid his money across the bar and waited. Picking up the two glasses, he nodded his thanks to Harry before heading over to the booth.
Jack glanced up as he slid into the seat opposite him, setting both glasses down and sliding one over the table towards him.
“I’ve already got one.”
“Got a feeling you might need another.”
Jack eyeballed him, his expression unreadable. “What’s this all about? What do you want? Because I’m in no mood for games. Whatever you want, you can have it. You win, okay? I don’t belong here – I get it. Believe me, I get it.” He shook his head and took a swig of whisky.
“What happened?”
Jack stared into the glass in front of him. “I told you. She threw me out.”
“I thought she might try something like that.”
“Congratulations. You win.”
“It’s not a game, Jack. Far from it.”
“Then why do I feel like a pinball? What’s going on here? Because I honestly have no clue.”
“There’s no one answer to that question,” Callum sighed, running a hand down his face.
“Jesus, you’re as bad as she is. It’s like talking to a revolving door.”
Jack downed the last of his whisky and slammed the glass down on the table.
“You thought she was complicated before? Buckle up, dude - you ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” Callum said.
“Meaning what, exactly?”
He had to make his point and make it quickly, because he could see Jack was teetering on the brink.
“Reading between the lines? She doesn’t want you to know anything that might make you disappear again. And that means that her injury - and anything to do with it - is off limits.”
Jack stared at him for a few moments, and he could see the cogs turning in his brain.
“She doesn’t trust me,” Jack said simply.
“It’s a hell of a lot to ask, you have to admit.”
“But, I’m not gonna just - I mean, I want to stay, I told her that - I asked her what she wanted, and she said -“
“I know. But put yourself in her place. Is it any wonder? You’re not the only one she’s protecting. She’s been doing this for years. She changes the subject a lot - it's like a damn hobby. Anytime the conversation gets too raw, she backs off. It’s always ‘never mind’, or ‘it doesn’t matter’, or ‘let’s talk about something else’.”
Callum saw recognition in Jack’s eyes and he nodded across the table at him. “You’ve seen it too, haven’t you?”
Jack nodded slowly. “Yeah.”
“It’s a diversionary tactic.”
Callum shrugged again, taking a sip of his whisky and waiting as it burned a trail down his throat, ending with a slow warming glow that lit up his belly. “Best I can figure is she’s trying to protect us.”
“From what?” Jack frowned.
“From whatever’s going on in her head.”
They eyeballed each other across the table for several moments and Callum tried to block out the memories of their relationship prior to the accident. He tried to concentrate on seeing Jack as a stranger sitting across from him, but the vision wouldn’t stick. He kept seeing his friend, Jack – and more disturbingly, he kept seeing Jack and Ally together, before their world turned upside down. They were happy. They were going to get married and have a house full of kids. They were in love.
Suddenly, the last four years fell away and some of the anger and resentment fell away with it, right along with the realisation that he and Ally never really had a chance together. She had been right all along. It would never have worked between them.
Jack’s the one she was always meant to be with, not me. That’s why he’s here. That’s why she wants him to stay.
The whisky felt like it had burnt a hole in his gut and a deep ache settled in, right in that exact spot.
“If you knew she was gonna do this, why’d you make me push her into talking about it?” Jack asked, his gaze fixed on the glass in front of him.
“Honestly? I guess maybe I was testing her. I figured if she could talk to you about it, then she was ready for whatever this is between the two of you. On some level, I thought since it was you asking, she might open up.”
Jack seemed to deflate in front of him. “Guess you were wrong, then. She’s not talking to me about it. And I don’t even know what to say to her half the time. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I’m just an idiot, saying the wrong thing and pissing her off.”
Callum thought of all the times over the past few years when he felt inadequate, when he thought that Jack being here would’ve made a difference.
“She’s stubborn - and tough as hell. You two have that in common.”
Jack looked dubious.
“You came back here didn’t you? And you’re still here, despite everything. She’s pushing you away because she doesn’t want you to see what she thinks are her weaknesses.” He shook his head. “Secrets. Another thing you two have in common.”
Jack opened his mouth but Callum cut him off.
“I don’t care about that - that’s something you have to work out between you, somehow. This is about her, and about you not giving up on her. She doesn’t deserve that, not after everything she’s been through. Despite what she says or does, you need to stay.”
Jack shot him a look of total disbelief.
“You’ve changed your tune.”
Callum took a good long swallow of whisky and set the glass back on the table slowly, thinking.
“I know that – believe me. But I’m not an idiot. I can see what’s happening here – to her, to you.” He looked over at Jack, his heart ripping open in the wake of the truth that tumbled out of his mouth. “She needs you. If she tries to tell you otherwise, she’s lying – I know it and she knows it. Tom knew it too, that’s why he never gave up on you coming home.”
He could see the effect his words were having on Jack. He swallowed his pride and continued.
“She’s pushing you away, because she knows that sooner rather than later, she’s gonna have to start letting you in and it’s scaring her to death. You hold all the power here. You can walk away, or you can pick her up and never let her go. Do you understand what I’m saying? Do you get how serious this is?”
Jack nodded dumbly.
“So don’t you dare go anywhere.”
Finally, Jack found his voice. “I made her a promise.”
Callum glared at him over the table, willing his voice not to break.
“And you better plan on keeping it.”


Sunday, 21 September 2014

"Absolution" - Redux

As some of you may be aware, I recently received the copyright back from my former publisher for my first novel, "Absolution" (published in October 2013).  Since then, I've been working hard to re-edit it and add an extended epilogue, to make it the best it can possibly be!

What you may not be aware of though, is that my former publisher has reneged on our contract by not paying me any royalties.  They have also refused to have it removed from the sites that they had listed it through, which is a breach of copyright.  I have contacted all the sites I can find that still have it for sale, but so far some are proving stubborn.  Don't worry, though - I'll get them ;-)  Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Kobo have already removed it, which is great news - the other sites, I am still working on.  If you find it anywhere online for sale, please let me know so I can approach them!

I have said time and again that writing is free, but publishing is not.  To re-release "Absolution" with a new cover, a new edit and to get it formatted for both print and ebook versions, will cost me in excess of $500.  This is very true, for all self-publishers.  My former publisher have pushed me into a corner - I could not let them continue reaping the benefits of my hard work, so I fought to regain the copyright.  Unfortunately, this put me in the awkward position of having to outlay this expense of having it re-released when I was unprepared for it. Therefore, I'm having to use money I had put aside for publishing "Into the Void" to re-release "Absolution" - and even then, I don't have nearly enough put aside yet.  Absolutely heart-breaking.

I have two options: continue to save to get "Absolution" re-released (which, at this rate, will be sometime next year - with "Into the Void" being pushed back to 2016), or try to raise the money.  I've chosen the latter option.

In order to make sure "Absolution" (MY version) is easily distinguishable by me and by my readers, I will need a new cover (costing around $200 - that's US$, by the way).  Then of course, comes the professional edit (by my wonderful editor Sarah Widdup at Irrefutable Proof, whom I used for "Between Before and After"), and then there is formatting for ebook and print.  If there is any money left over, I will be using it to organise another blog tour and to pay for further publicity to get it out there again.

To raise the money to make this happen, I'm using a crowd-funding site called Pubslush.  If you've never heard of them, don't worry - neither had I until a few days ago.  They are a site where you can pledge your support to help authors release their books to the same standard that the Big Publishers do.  Because, as I said, this costs money - and simply put, most of us indie authors just don't have it in abundance!

My Pubslush campaign is running like this: you can pledge either $5, $10, $20 or $25 to help me raise this money.  At all levels, you are effectively pre-ordering a re-released ecopy of "Absolution" - along with the new cover and extended epilogue.  Here's what you will get for your money:

$5 - an ecopy of the re-released version of "Absolution", along with the new cover and extended epilogue.
- the above, plus your name listed in the "Dedications" page of the new version, both print and ecopy.
- ecopy, name in "Dedications" page, and your name goes into the draw for a signed paperback of the new version.
- ecopy, name in "Dedications" page, and your name goes into the draw for a signed paperback of the new version PLUS a handmade Swarovski crystal bookmark/pendant (examples as per my website,

If I don't meet the minimum threshold of $600, you pay nothing.  If I do (and I really hope I do!), then I pay a 4% success fee to Pubslush, and they will be calling in your pledge for payment.  The maximum amount (what Pubslush call the "goal") is $800, but the campaign is deemed a success if it reaches the minimum level of $600.

PLEASE help me by pre-ordering your copy and supporting this campaign!  
It really would mean so much to me!  Yes, you will need an account with Pubslush to support it, but this is free, and very quick and easy to open.  AND you don't have to pay until the campaign is over (that's if I reach the minimum at all!).  The campaign will run for 44 days from today.

Here's a link to the campaign:

I would be extremely grateful if you would also share this link with your friends, on Facebook or any social media site!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me - I'd be happy to help!

Thanks so much for your support - I appreciate it so much!


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Release Week Jitters

It's that time again. Release week.

"Between Before and After" is finally ready to face the world. One week today, and she will no longer be mine, but yours. Be gentle, dear ones. Treat her carefully, for she contains many hours of work and immeasurable chunks of my heart, soul and memories.

I've barely slept the past week, since I sent a bunch of ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) out to bloggers, support people and others who might help me to spread the word. It's a nerve-wracking time. A thousand questions plague me.

Will she be well-received? Will the characters be gripping enough? Will the plot twists and turns make sense and keep you all engaged? Will certain plot points seem real enough to provide the reader with the same deep sense of panic and fear that they gave me when I wrote them? Will writing in my native Kiwi tongue make sense to those outside of New Zealand?

*le sigh*

These are all valid questions, believe me. I suppose the answers will come via the reviews, when they begin to come in. Until then, all I can do is try to convince myself that I did all I can. And try to get some sleep.

2nd June will be here before you know it...

Ebook available via Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Smashwords and Kobo from 2 June 2014.


Monday, 12 May 2014

Cover Reveal - Between Before and After

Danny Morris left behind a gun, a tonne of questions and a big hole in the lives of those he loved. What he didn’t leave was a suicide note. 

That was three years ago and on the anniversary of his death, his friends mark his passing by gathering at his parents’ beach house in New Zealand's gorgeous Marlborough Sounds. Danny’s decision may have seemed like the easy way out for him, but there is no doubt about the wreckage he left behind. 

Danny's girlfriend, Kate, holds onto his memory by continuing to live in the house they shared. Desperate to move on with her life, the need to understand why he shut her out holds her back. Her blossoming feelings for Danny’s best friend, Finn, only complicate matters. 

Finding Danny’s body has impacted on Max in ways no one could ever have imagined. Withdrawing from his high-flying lifestyle, he has carved out a much simpler life, moving from town to town as he tries to run from the nightmares he refuses to talk about. A new development, self-medicating with alcohol has him sailing dangerously close to the edge.

Finn is finally ready to admit how he feels about Kate, but the ghost of her relationship with Danny continues to haunt them both. Desperately trying to save Max from himself dredges up long-buried anger and frustration at the situation they now find themselves in. 

Friendship. The word itself conjures up images of trust and love. But what happens when that trust is broken and that love is thrown back in your face?

Five friends. Three days. One shocking discovery that will shake them to the very core. 

This year, everything will change.



The single gunshot sounded like a firecracker. Short, sharp, loud. What followed was a buzzing echo, a kind of post-event hum that seemed to fill the air for several seconds, before it too dwindled away to nothing. 
The sound was completely out of place in the suburban Auckland street. Two young boys playing in the back yard of the house across the road stopped in their tracks, their smiles frozen. 

“Double happys,” one said to the other, his grin widening. “Lucky. It’s not Guy Fawkes for ages yet.”

“Do you think that was Caleb’s house? We should go and see – he might have more!”

The twinkle in his eye told of the hunt for mischief, but the other boy – more sensible - shook his head.

“Mum said we weren’t allowed to go over there today.”

Deflated, his friend backed down. They resumed their play, chasing each other through the sprinkler that fanned cool water out in a wide arc across the lawn.

Inside, the boy’s mother stopped loading up the dishwasher and peered out the kitchen window. Seeing nothing out of place, she quickly dismissed it.

The birdsong resumed and the sun continued to shine. Summer afternoons had a habit of minimalising things. Nothing could be wrong on a day like this, surely? 

Two doors down from the white Victorian villa with the overgrown garden and rickety white picket fence, more children played on the grass verge. They chased each other on their bikes, up and down the footpath, dodging the mature trees planted along the berm. A young couple walked down the opposite side of the street, hand in hand, enjoying the sunshine. A car crawled slowly past before stopping at the intersection on the corner. It waited for a break in the traffic, indicator blinking lazily.

At number forty two, time had stopped. The large, rented villa with the veranda that wrapped itself around the front and one side of the house, looked just the same as always. Except inside, Danny Morris lay on the floor in the living room. His eyes were wide open but devoid of life, and a pool of dark, sticky blood seeped through the worn carpet beneath his head. A gun lay on the floor beside him, his open hand reaching for it, even in death, as if it would solve all his problems.

The decision to end his own life hadn’t been made lightly. The preceding months had seen him spiral down into a depression that he was ill-equipped to handle. A dark fog had descended over him, swallowing him up. Every breath felt as if he was inhaling sand. He was suffocating. He had withdrawn from his friends and family, both afraid they could see it, and convinced they were unable to help him fight it. No one could help him. The darkness that crawled over his soul and dug its hooks into his heart would not release him. He could feel it gaining power. He craved an end to the hopelessness.

The gun had only been in his possession for a couple of days, hidden from sight but ever-present in his mind. He had mulled over his options carefully. Pills were too slow – it was too risky, someone might find him. Slicing his wrists was out for the same reason, as was hanging himself or gassing himself in his car. He didn’t want to have to explain this to anyone – he didn’t think he was capable of it. Explaining required a basic understanding, and he didn’t have that. What he did have was an overwhelming desire for the pain to end.

He had chosen a gun as his weapon of choice for the simple reason that once he pulled that trigger, it was done. There was no changing his mind, no last-minute rescue, no way of stopping the train once it had left the station. No way back.

Quick, painless, final. The perfect solution.

And yet, for all his meticulous planning, he could not have foreseen the one thing that had been completely out of his control. As his finger was poised on the trigger, sweaty and trembling, a face appeared at the window. In that split second between the trigger being fully depressed and the bullet entering his body, their eyes met.
And then it was over.


Add to your TBR on Goodreads
Release date: 2 June 2014
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Please help me spread the news by sharing on your Facebook page, your blog or wherever you talk to your friends. Thanks so much :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the cover, too!


Friday, 18 April 2014

"Between Before and After" - Teaser

As we get closer and closer to the release date for "Between Before and After" (scheduled for June now, if you missed it), I thought I'd share a teaser with you.  Keep in mind this is an un-edited teaser!  It's from chapter one.  Feedback welcome - hope everyone is looking forward to reading this story as much as I'm looking forward to sharing it with you :)

by Amanda Dick

**Un-edited Teaser**

"The three hour ferry ride across the Cook Strait from Wellington had been fairly smooth, as far as sailings go. Max Lonergan had certainly experienced worse in the almost ten years he had been making this journey. He had spent the time sitting as far away from the many cafes and eateries as possible, trying to distract himself by watching the horizon and reading the newspaper. He couldn’t remember the last time he had read the paper. The big wide world didn’t interest him anymore. Over the past three years, he had withdrawn from it, slowly and surely. The withdrawal was so complete, he didn’t even miss it now. Not the rush-hour traffic or the deadlines, not the planning for upcoming holidays or the latest cellphone, not even the Friday night drinks or the messy weekends that inevitably followed. No more kissing up to his boss, no more schmoozing the secretaries. Now he was on his own schedule. Gone were the suit and tie with matching expensive leather loafers. His corporate attire these days consisted of jeans, work boots, bush-shirts and hi-visibility jackets. Instead of drinks in the boardroom or a swanky cocktail bar, he had drinks in the shearing shed or leaning on the back of the supervisor’s truck. Over the past three years, his whole life had changed. He had changed. His priorities had shifted, his outlook on life had skewed, tilted sideways. The death of someone close to you had a habit of making you reassess how you spent your remaining days on this earth.
Just as he remembered, the paper was full of bad news. Disgusted, he folded it up and set it aside. He ran a hand through his brown hair, roughing it up so that it stood on end just a little bit more. He was overdue for a haircut. His usual short-back-and-sides had somehow morphed into a shaggy, wavy mass. Any kind of length just seemed to add volume. Somehow, over the last few months, a haircut had slipped through the cracks.
The smell of food turned his stomach, and he concentrated on his black coffee instead. Luckily for him, breakfast had never been a necessity. He was used to being up this early, having done a variety of short-term jobs that had altered his body-clock. Sheep shearing, forestry work, fruit picking, kiwifruit pack-houses – all ran on a different schedule to the office-bound nine-to-fivers. That was one of the reasons he had chosen to take the early run, the first ferry bound for Picton. It suited him. A shaft of guilt stung him momentarily. Maybe he should have contacted Kate to find out what ferry she had booked on. If she was flying down from Auckland to catch the afternoon sailing she usually favoured, he didn’t want to be in the position of having to kill time in Wellington waiting for her. Cities were most definitely not within his comfort-zone – not anymore. It was true what they said about feeling lonelier in a crowd.
He had meant to call her and touch base. Hell, he had meant to call all of them, but somehow it always kept falling to the bottom of his To Do list. Honestly, he wasn’t even sure until the day before yesterday that he was going to come this year. Each anniversary seemed to get harder, not easier. With the way he was feeling lately, he had purposefully kept away from everyone, telling himself he wouldn’t be good company. Yet here he was, bobbing up and down in the Cook Strait, in limbo between islands like some kind of metaphor.
His regular life – the one he lived daily – was mostly solitary, and he liked it that way. His old life, the one he had left behind along with the suits and swanky bars, also held his friends. They were the people he loved most in this world and for them, for three days, in exchange for that sense of belonging, he could pretend to be whole."

Hope you enjoyed the glimpse - feel free to share this post!