Buds: A collection of stories

I just put together all my stories from 2016 to 2019 into a 5 x 8 paperback. It is 371 pages long and the stories that are in this book are;

  • My Cousin Megan,
  • From the Mountain,
  • The Backup Girl,
  • The Witch’s Room,
  • The Things We Do,
  • Save One.

Feet or Fins and The Dragon’s Mate are not in the collection. I called it Buds, as in plant buds, because while they are not the first stories I wrote (I have a bunch of short stories from uni), they are the emergence of my writing style. I think in a few years’ time I’ll put out another collection as I think my novelettes and novellas are not long enough for their own paperbacks.

The Backup Girl: First Chapter Free

iStock_83133533_SMALL7This is the first chapter of my young adult novella The Backup Girl. If you like it you can check out more at Smashwords and Amazon.

Chapter One

‘Cora. Clear table five,’ Brent didn’t even lift his head from the polished wooden greeting host station. From the camera’s perspective, it looked like he was simply writing, but I knew he was texting someone. He was always looking for an opportunity to not work as hard as everyone else here. It pisses me off that Mum and Dad still let him get away with this is fucking shit. I do more than three of him.

‘Can I get you guys anything else?’ I said wiping the table a bit too hard.

‘Just the bill,’ said the man. I went and printed it out. I looked it over. They had spent over a hundred dollars. Not a hard thing to do here. It was all that wine they drank. I gave it to them and just as I was about to clock out – boom! I saw her. The most wonderful looking person ever.

She was sitting at table twenty-three. It was in a different section of the restaurant, which was why I hadn’t seen her until now. Everything about her was unique, mesmerising even. Was she even real?

Her ears sparkled under the dim lights, and her black hair shone. I’ve never seen anyone, except Oki, with such pretty, shiny black hair. What was that hairstyle she was wearing? I had never seen someone in this town with such a thing. Shaved sides and by the looks of it, rainbow coloured dreadlocks braided into a section of it. And her arms, covered in tattoos so beautiful and colourful that they were works of art.

But they all paled in comparison to how she held herself. Someone at her table said something and she laughed like no one was looking at her. No woman in this town would dare try to look the slightest bit different, but here she was, wearing that confidence like a crown.

I signed out and rushed into the bathroom. Where was my crown? This woman whose skin was like a rainbow, while I wore a tan to cover my freckles. Which is stupid because it’s winter and I’m wearing long sleeves. I almost feel ashamed to be wearing it. How was that even possible? She wasn’t even doing anything. She was beauty and rainbows. But I’m a Barbie, one of Alice’s group. Everyone at school wants to be us. I bet her Instagram account was better than mine too.

I scrubbed my hands in some hot water and looked out the small high window. Rain droplets sparkled like jewels under the street light.

I exited the building and found that it was even colder than when I had first begun my shift. Thankfully winter was already half over. As I passed my work I looked in through the giant glass panelled windows trying to check out the woman again. Instead, I saw Brent still texting. God, my brother is such a piece of shit.

At least when I go back to school I’ll only have to work three nights a week. The twinkle of The Royal dwindled as I continued along the dark streets for ten minutes before arriving home.

‘Hey Dad,’ I said when I got home. He was reading something on his laptop.

‘Hey, how was work?’

‘The same.’ I saw spreadsheets out on the dining table. It looks like he and Mum had been going over the financials again. They have done this every few months since buying the restaurant. Back then it had been owned by a man who didn’t know how to run a business so he had sunk it within a few years. Mum and Dad did a shit ton of renovations and made it into the best restaurant in the region. It’s won awards and it has a dress code and everything.

I changed into my yoga pants and fluffy bed shirt. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I mean God, she’s unlike anyone I’ve ever seen, well except for people on the internet. It was so obvious that something so wondrous didn’t come from this town. And I was sure as hell she wasn’t going to be staying here either. She was a blow in from a better place heading towards something even better. It was like I should have been honoured with her presence. I bet no matter where she went, her life would be perfect.

I fluffed up my pillow and sometime later heard Brent come home. I checked my phone that was on my bedside table. Midnight already. Mum and Dad would be asleep by now. But they’d be awake soon if Brent continued like he was. I heard him talking on his phone as he walked through the downstairs of the house.

‘You see that chick with the coloured dreads?’

I didn’t hear the response.

‘I know; I would never fuck a chick that shaved her head.’

Well Brent, there was no point even thinking that you had a chance. She’d never even consider fucking you. In fact, she doesn’t care one bit what you or anyone else thinks of her. Urgh, why can’t I be like that?

How I make my DIY book covers

As a character trait, I’m more than frugal, I’m a bit cheap. This bleeds over into my writing. I try to do as much as possible myself. Writing, editing, book covers.

So I’m going to write about my techniques for creating my book covers. While I have a creative flair for storytelling, it doesn’t necessarily cross over to design. I have practically zero graphic design training. Red flags when creating my own book cover right? Well, I employ the KISS method.

Keep It Simple, Stupid. 


Most times, before I even finish the first draft of my story, I’m on iStock looking at potential images to use. Things that I look for is that it is a representation of a theme or idea. This means I am not limiting the interpretation of my book. I can have anywhere from 20 images to over 200. The more I have in a folder, the more likely I haven’t found something I like yet.


I keep things simple because like I said before I don’t have much experience in graphic design. The program I’ve always used has been Pixlr.com. It’s a simple photoshop website. I’m sure there are more advanced features of the site, but I only how to use the simple things. I think eventually I might have to employ someone, but not until it is absolutely necessary.

Here are the book covers I have created myself in Pixlr.com.


Latest The Backup Girl Edit

I think I have either editing fatigue or I’m just lazy, probably the latter. I’m doing another draft of The Backup Girl at the moment and I’m mentally done with it. How many more times do I have to go over it? But I hadn’t even touched it since last Novemeber as I wanted to give my brain some time between drafts. But there always seems to be something to fix 😦 Currently I am only half wat through this draft. I was hoping that I would have it done around this time. Now I’m hopeing to hvae it done by mid year. I’m using my holiday back to Australia as the due date for self-publication.