‘Boy in the Blue Hammock’ – The Teaser

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Spring 2022, to be specific.

In a time of isolation and scarcity, a regressive regime rules with absolute power, turning neighbour against neighbour, and crushing dissidence with deadly force. A microcosm of this monstrous time: the tiny Pacific Northwest town of Gilder.

In a house on the fringes of the decimated hamlet, Tao – a failed service dog turned pet – wakes to find his leash tied to the stair, his hind leg broken and his family killed. With the world he knows shattered, there is one course of action: lay with his slain masters and wait for the enemy – the “hounds” – to return and end his life.

But it is not the hounds that find him – it is Kasper, fifteen years old, disabled, limited ability to speak, sole survivor of the family. With the discovery of Boy, Tao understands he now has a duty: guide the last living member of his pack through the ravaged streets of Gilder to safety. The destination? The only refuge he can conceive of in a world gone mad?

The site of his training five years before.

Boy in the Blue Hammock is an epic tale of loss and loyalty, of dissent and destruction, of assumption and ableism. With a powerful narrative and evocative prose, the novel poses one of the important questions of our time: when evil silences the people, who will protect those without a voice?

COMING SPRING 2022  

Five Years On, Still Seen

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

It doesn’t seem right, but it’s the fifth anniversary of Are You Seeing Me? coming into the world.

The little novel about Justine and Perry’s last glorious vacation together was released August 2014 and things would never quite be the same for its grateful author.

It managed to do amazing things, including this.

And this.

And even this.

Perhaps most impressively, it has managed to stick around, still getting read here, still being discussed there.

To celebrate AYSM’s continuing journey, I thought I’d share a little bit of the behind-the-scenes that shaped the novel we know today. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about AYSM.

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Rapture in Blue

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IB Cover

Behold the cover for Infinite Blue, a contemporary fable penned by Simon Groth and his dodgy older brother. It’s hitting North American shelves September 11, 2018.

All credit for this beauty goes to the brilliant pair responsible: artist Iveta Karpathyova and Orca Books designer Teresa Bubela. If you’d like a peek inside the creative process, Iveta has posted a couple of cool videos here and here.

Counting the days!

Ceaseless Wonder

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Phil Advice

quickmeme.com

With the AUS/NZ release of my new novel a mere four weeks away, here’s a little insight into the wondering that produced the tale.

Exchange of Heart / Munro vs. the Coyote grew from two story seeds.

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Heart On My Jacket

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Exchange of Heart Cover

A second round of cover goodness has arrived – this one, the Aussie front for my new YA novel out later this year, titled Exchange of Heart in Oz.

Fans of Are You Seeing Me? might be pleased to see the similarities in style, design and font. I’m pleased to see that I did indeed write Are You Seeing Me? and it wasn’t all just a lovely dream.

If you’re in Australia and wish to pre-order Exchange of Heart, you can do so here.

If you’re in Canada/US and wish to pre-order Munro vs. the Coyote, you can do so here.

‘Exchange of Heart’ – The Stuck-in-an-Elevator Pitch

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Sometimes, Life takes on a life of its own…

Since the sudden death of his younger sister, Munro Maddux has been stuck. Flashbacks. Anger. Chest pains. And a voice – taunting, barking, biting – that his counsellor calls ‘the Coyote’. Munro knows a student exchange will not be the stuff of Disney movies. But in Australia he intends to move beyond his troubled past.

Forced by his new school to join a volunteer program, Munro discovers the Coyote is silenced in one place: Fair Go, an assisted living residence in Brisbane’s west, where Munro gets to know his team of residents: dogged designer Bernie; sleeping refugee Shah; would-be wedded couple Blake and Dale; comic creator Iggy; and self-defence tutor Florence. As this unlikely group shows Munro the sights, Munro’s notion of what it means to be a big brother begins to change.

But the burden Munro carries is not so easily cast aside, and unexpected developments at Fair Go prompt a devastating flashback that threatens to end the student exchange. Will the Coyote ultimately triumph? Or can Munro find the fortitude necessary to mend his heart?

‘Funny-sad, authentic and uplifting – Groth is a writer who can pivot from heartbreak to humour without missing a beat.’ Vikki Wakefield, author of All I Ever Wanted

Exchange of Heart will be published in AUS/NZ July 31, 2017. In CAN/US, the book will be released October 17, 2017 under the title Munro vs. the Coyote.
You can mark it as ‘to-read’ on Goodreads here and here.

Coyote Uncovered

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img_2063

My brand new YA novel is coming out this year. In North America, it’s titled Munro vs. the Coyote and the cover looks a little like the awesomeness above.

Not bad, eh?

Every image within the Coyote’s head speaks to moments, elements and characters in the story.

I can’t wait to see this jacket on the real deal come October.

Participation Ribbons (Part 3)

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Good Job

2015 was, without doubt, the year of Are You Seeing Me?. By November, it had achieved nine big-time recognitions on three continents, including five major prize shortlistings. Then the year ended with a nod in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

Over twelve months, I’d pinched myself so much I took out a self-restraining order.

The ticking over of the calendar to 2016 felt like the end of AYSM‘s dream run, especially with my focus now firmly set on the draft of the follow-up novel, Where You Are Now. The little book with the car and the cracks and the marauding monster on the cover, though, was not yet prepared to shed its sneakers.

In fact, it was saving up a finishing kick of epic proportions.

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Participation Ribbons (Part 2)

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Good Job

Back in April, I posted about how 2015 had already achieved ‘house on fire’ status in the Are You Seeing Me? chase for literati glory. Given we’re now in November, I figured I should update you on the six months that have passed.

What a caper.

While still coming down from the CBCA shortlist clouds (it rightfully took several months), I discovered that AYSM was a finalist for the Griffith University YA Book Award in the QLA’s. To receive this nod from my state of origin was very gratifying and took me back to my very first brush with literary acknowledgement: a shortlisting in the 2004 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards’ young adult category for Most Valuable Potential.

Next came two very cool pats on the back.

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Release The Publicity Hounds

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On Air

Are You Seeing Me? is out and about in North America this week and, in accordance with the promotional deities, there is plenty of upcoming opportunity to catch me in a live or online AYSM experience.

Here’s a rundown of confirmed happenings:

August 18-25: Goodreads Giveaway (for CAN/US only)
August 24: Staff Meet n Greet, Kidsbooks on Broadway, 11.00am
September 9: Vancouver Book Launch, Book Warehouse on Main, 7.00pm
September 12: Delta Book Launch, Albany Books, 2.00pm
September 15: Vancouver Writers Fest Soft Launch, Indigo Broadway & Granville, 7.00pm
September 19-20: Word on the Street Lethbridge (see festival program for full details)
September 27: Word Vancouver (see festival program for full details)
October 2: PNBA Tradeshow in Portland, Nightcapper Author Event, 8.30-10.00pm
October 20-25: Vancouver Writers Fest (see festival program for full details)
November 4: Orca Group Launch in Victoria, Munro’s Books (time TBD)

Other events may be added to the docket, so stay tuned.

I look forward to seeing you somewhere on this fun ride!

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