Category Archives: Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding for a Song: The Music of Duo Ex Machina

Can you help me fill my Ko-Fi cup?

I grew up influenced by musicals, and that may be why I now write so many stories with music in them.

As a child I learned piano and though that fell by the wayside – partly because my family kept moving house and moving the cheap old piano along with us was a bit of a palaver – I’ve always enjoyed playing around with lyrics and songwriting.

In the 80s, when I discovered fandom and film music, I ended up collaborating with Fiona Thompson (nee Undy) on a Blake’s 7 filktape called Voices from the Past.

Decades have passed since then. I still can’t play the piano, or really sing, but fandom led me back to songwriting once more. I wrote lyrics for an alternative universe Sherlock Holmes series and then started writing lyrics into other stories.

I wrote lyrics for songs relating to the Witches of Tyne series. Then I wrote them for the first Duo Ex Machina novella, Fly By Night, to go alongside the lyrics of songs by About Six Feet (used with their permission)

Then a few years ago, spurred on by those fan-inspired lyrics on AO3 and how much people liked them, I wrote more and more music. (I’ve since dragged both Blake’s 7 and Holmes filk into the worlds of Kitty and Cadaver and Duo Ex Machina.)

Further novellas in the Duo Ex Machina series – Sacrifice, Number One Fan, Kiss and Cry and the current (and final) story, Little Star, all contain songs that I wrote, because it’s easier to do that yourself than get permission to use other lyrics. Also because I love it!

It’s been my delight in recent years to work with Jess Harris of Bronze to bring Kitty songs to life in their performances and recordings.

I’m now aiming to work with another musician – music producer Joshua King – to transform the Duo Ex Machina songs from lyrics on a page to songs in your ear!

To this end, I’ve set up as Ko-Fi account to raise funds to pay for studio time, singers and musicians. I’ll be updating the site each week with lyrics, my a cappella versions of the melodies and examples of words-to-music that have come out of previous collaborations!

If you have a few dollars to spare and would like to support new music in Melbourne, you can donate below!

Fundraising through Dangerous Charm

If you prefer to wear your support, I’m also putting the proceeds of any jewellery sales from Dangerous Charm (which includes jewellery inspired by Kitty and Cadaver and Duo Ex Machina) directly into the song-making bank!

Cover Reveal: Duo Ex Machina 5 – Little Star

I’m so pleased to reveal to you the cover of the fifth and final novella of the Duo Ex Machina series, Little Star.

Willsin Rowe has designed the covers for each of the novellas, and he’s brought us to the end with this delight.

About Little Star

Families can be thorny, especially when the closet’s full of skeletons. It’s 2019, and Frank and Milo are realising a dream they only recently realised they had – fatherhood. But they’re not only gaining a daughter – they’re inheriting a some serious issues from little Lyra’s extended family. Milo is also discovering his own family history isn’t quite what he’s been told.

Parenthood. Always full of surprises…

Little Star is currently being serialised on my Patreon for supporters from the lowest tier upwards – so if you don’t want to wait until that’s finished, you can pledge your monthly support now for two chapters a month (and more if you pledge at higher levels) and then the finalised ebook on completion.

(As a bonus, if you join my Patreon now, you’ll get the first four novellas as a sign-up reward!)

Cover Reveal: Duo Ex Machina – Kiss and Cry

I’m delighted to reveal the cover for my upcoming fourth Duo Ex Machina novella, Kiss and Cry.

Set in 2014, Kiss and Cry sees musicians and life partners Frank Capriano and Milo Bertolone facing new challenges. Milo is taking part in a celebrity ice dancing show for charity; Frank is a busy music producer. They’re both working too hard and losing touch with the love that has kept them strong for so long. At the same time, some odd things are going on with other participants in Icing It! What new and unlooked-for danger threatens them now, and is it worse than the miserable estrangement they’re going through?

Kiss and Cry is currently being serialised for my $3 supporters on Patreon. That will finish in February 2020, when all Patrons will get the book as one of their regular awards. Soon after, it will be available for general sale.

In the meantime, this is the lovely cover by Willsin Rowe, who has created all the new series covers to date.

My Melbourne: Melbourne General Cemetery

Melbourne General Cemetery

I enjoy a visit to a graveyard: these markers of the end of everyone’s story (or, for believers, the end of the fist book and the beginning of the sequel).

One of my favourite cemeteries is Melbourne General Cemetery, which dates from 1853.

Kitty Carrasco lives opposite this graveyard in Kitty and Cadaver, and there’s a very uncomfortable encounter with the dead rising from their graves and the ensuing musical battle where the minstrels try to sing the dead to rest again.

The Melbourne General Cemetery contains the remains of hundreds of Melburnians from all walks of life. Residents include great politicians, social reformers, explorers, singers, public servants and sportsmen from the early days of the colony.

Naturally, there are writers and other contributors to Melbourne’s literary history among the cemetery’s residents. These include Marcus Clarke, author of For the Term of His Natural Life; city co-founder John Fawkner, who produced Melbourne’s first newspaper; and John Stanley James, an early journalist who wrote for “The Argus” newspaper under the pseudonym ‘The Vagabond’.

Explorers Burke and Wills were buried here after their remains were recovered; opera singer Frederick Federici, whose ghost is said to haunt the Princess Theatre, is interred here.

One of the charms of the Old Melbourne Cemetery (and, indeed, of all cemeteries) is the occasional eccentric tombstone; whether it’s a pithy epitaph or an unusual design carved in stone.

One of the most distinctive and evocative headstones in the cemetery is that of Emily Mather, murdered in 1891 by her husband Frederick Deeming (a serial killer who some believed to be Jack the Ripper).

The headstone remarks upon on her murder and gives some frankly victim-blaming advice on being careful who you marry.

Walter Lindrum’s headstone

The 1960 grave of world champion billiard’s player, Walter Lindrum, is much less gruesome – a few stone billiard balls and a cue lie across the polished marble, as though Walter has just stepped away for a moment and will be back to finish his shot shortly.

Another unexpected memorial in Melbourne General Cemetery is the one to Elvis Presley – curious, given Elvis never made it to Australia.

The Elvis memorial

The memorial is said to be the only officially approved shrine outside of Graceland. It was commissioned by the Elvis Presley Fan Club in 1977 and still attracts visitors each year on the anniversary of the hip-swiveller’s death.

Graves can be sad; they can even be morbid. I find them melancholy but restful, a reminder that every life, however, brief, has it’s own story, filled with love, drama, tragedy and joy.

Every story ends. I want to make sure the pages of mine are full.