Category Archives: News

The Songs of Duo Ex Machina

The five novellas of the Duo Ex Machina series are full of song lyrics I wrote to go with the stories.

Some are by the two-man band Duo Ex Machina (comprising the two lead characters, Frank Capriano and Milo Bertolone, who are also boyfriends). Others are by their friend, Gabriella Valli, and yet others are songs on the radio or that are played during Milo’s time as a contestant on an ice dancing show (in DeM 4: Kiss and Cry).

Now, in partnership with Joshua King of Golden Hour Studios, some of those lyrics are becoming actual songs, released on Apple Music, Spotify and other services!

Listen to our first single – Hymn/Him, from Duo Ex Machina 4: Kiss and Cry on:

You can help us make more music by buying or streaming the Duo Ex Machina songs from Apple, Spotify or Amazon Music: sales proceeds go towards new music.

You can also support the project by:

Or subscribe to the Duo Ex Machina YouTube channel for songs as they’re released.

Lockdown Fiction: Option Five

Cover image of flames and tentacles.

My responses to the Improbable Press fiction prompts tend to be optimistic, but this has gone very dark. Oh well. The muse is obviously In A Mood.

Option Five

The sea was on fire.

No, wait.

Hang on.

The rolling waves of flame, sparks flickering like sea spray, lapped against a shore made of ice which, despite the heat, didn’t melt.

That left Marnie with four options. The burning sea, or the illusion thereof, was the result of too much caffeine, too much poppy seed cake, the concussion, or a combination of the three.

Marnie probed her forehead with long, slender fingers. The bump, big as an egg, was still there. Still sore to the touch. She wished she could remember how it came to be there. Flashes of memory cascaded through her mind as she touched it, fragmented and unsatisfactory. A blue sky; the scent of salt water; the serrating cry of seagulls; a hulking shape rising from the waves…


Marnie sipped her coffee, still piping hot after all these hours on the icy shore. She took a bite of seedcake, moist and delicious. She tongued the little seeds between her front teeth and bit down. She had been eating cake, popping seeds, watching the flames and the ice, prodding at the lump on her forehead for a long time now.

A very long time.

Or no time at all.

The sky was no longer blue but a silvery grey, pulsing with a hidden light. The scent of the sea had been replaced with that of flames that crackled and whispered, a sound much lonelier than the gulls.

The hulking shape flashed in her mind’s eye again.

She had watched hippopotamuses – hippopotami? – rising up from rivers in Kenya, their comical roundness hiding the danger that lurked in their jealously territorial hearts. The shape from the sea had made her think of hippos. Grey. Wet. Soft. Tentacled.

No wait.

Hang on.

Marnie had seen octopuses – octupi? – in tanks at aquariums. The Giant Pacific Octopus at Monterey Bay, roiling sinuously across the rocks, limbs curling and unfurling, suckers twitching, till the animal pulsed upwards. Reached out of the tank. Hulked out of the water, baring sharp teeth.

No wait.

Hang on.

Marnie gulped coffee, scalding hot, then soothed the burn with cake, then ran her fingers over the bump.

The sea burned, and Marnie hoped it was because of one of four options. Coffee. Poppy seeds. Concussion. A combination.

She looked down at her feet, melting into the ice, becoming stone and dissolving into the sand underneath.

Option five. Probably it was option five.

The crackling flames whispered the names.


The Old Ones.

Madness everlasting in the last moments of the world.

Marnie, concussed, sipped coffee. Ate cake. Became stone.

Became ice.

Became flame.

Lockdown Fiction: New Moon

This week, the Improbable Press prompt drew a song out of me. (Check out the site and try the prompts yourself!)

I’ve been thinking about werewolves a lot, for an upcoming story, and this is the lyric that happened.

It might also apply to vampires, actually, but mostly it was written for a new werewolf.

Yes, I have a melody for it.

New Moon

Shine on, shine on
Little darlin’
Night is comin’ soon

Don’t let shadows
On your shoulder
Take away the moon

Darlin’ do not hunger for the sun
Let me tell you, darlin’
It’s for you the moon was hung

Lift your head up
Little darlin’
Sing to the starry sky

It is only a
Trick of vision
To see through the lie

Darlin’ do not hunger for the sun
You can feel it, darlin’
It’s for you the moon was hung

Shine on, shine on
Little darlin’
Night is comin’ soon

Don’t let shadows
On your shoulder
Keep you from your moon

September Price Promotion – Grounded

In a world where wings give everyone the freedom to fly, an artist born wingless uses her art to show the winged world the wonder of the ground. But when she meets a recently injured police officer who finds himself grounded, they will both learn that there is more than one way to soar.

From 1 to 30 September, Escape Publishing is offering Grounded at a special price on Amazon Australia for Australian and New Zealand readers! This ebook is available for only $3.99 until the end of the month!

To make the deal even sweeter, I’m offering a separate promotion of my own (to Australia-based readers only)!

If you reblog this post, you’ll get one entry into a competition to win one of three Dangerous Charms items of jewellery, inspired by Grounded.

If you buy Grounded at the special offer this month, message me with proof of purchase via the Contact page (under About Narrelle) or via @daggyvamp and you’ll get 10 entries in the draw.

Get Grounded from Amazon Australia for $3.99 until 30 September!

On offer are a necklace and two sets of earrings, to be posted anywhere in Australia for three winners.

The Dangerous Charm jewellery promotion is only open to people based in Australia, as I’m not able to post small items overseas under the current Covid-19 Australia Post restrictions.