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Under the Rose

Already mid-way through 2018 which just makes my jaw drop. I’m working on book two as fast as I can, but being very mindful that I want it to be an absolutely cracking great read with as much honesty and originality as I can muster. I’m not going to put a book out unless it’s the best I can make it.

Something I’m currently doing research into for book two are medieval secret societies. I first became interested in intelligence when I joined the Army Reserves and was posted to an Intelligence Corp for a couple of years. I loved the experience so much I went on to become an Intelligence Analyst at the Crime Commission in New South Wales. At the time it was a true sense of belonging for me. The daily opportunity to dive in deep and look for clues amongst seemingly unrelated bits of information was like a dream job.

I eventually went on to apply for work as an Intelligence Analyst with a federal agency in Australia. I went through a gruelling six month interview and psychological testing process. Just about every bit of my life was revealed. No stone left unturned. It wasn’t a comfortable experience I can tell you. I was offered the job and cleared for the highest security classification in Australia—Top Secret—and I turned it down. It was a gut-wrenching decision. Who knows the path my life may have taken had I accepted the job. But I didn’t want to live a secretive life. I didn’t want to ever find myself in situations with friends where I couldn’t be open and honest about what I do.

So I found another outlet for my analytical skills. And one was writing a book.

I understand the world of intelligence quite intimately which is proving to be helpful for book two. I’ve also been finding it a lot of fun to re-engage with my ‘past-life’ as an Intelligence Analyst. It certainly was one of the most interesting jobs I’ve held. I’d love to hear what the most interesting job you’ve held has been. I reckon there’d be some amazing stories out there. Please don’t be shy. Flick an email to me at or find me on any of the social media links below.

The Art of Reading

Even though I write fantasy, pure escapism is not a goal of mine. The River and the Ravages is set in a fictional medieval world but could very well be our current world minus obvious differences such as technology, industrialisation, modern political systems and so on. I hope the book, in some way only known to you, helps you to understand the world and your place in it.

Something I love about reading is that it’s literally a shortcut to experiencing a whole myriad of emotions and events that we may otherwise not experience. Even in a fantasy world, the characters are experiencing situations that are in many ways as real as life in present day 2018: loss, love, heartbreak, revenge, joy, failure, success. I personally am quite drawn to books where the protagonist’s main antagonist is themselves. Where characters often stuff up quite spectacularly, but ultimately find their way, even if they’re a bit more battered and bruised towards the end.

We’re so nervous about making awful mistakes that it can be quite satisfying to sit with a character who’s doing all the stuffing up for you. On the other spectrum, a really great character who’s making a mess of things can make you feel emboldened to take your own life into a period of uncertainty and risk. Good books, regardless of the genre, somehow prepare you for the times when the dark stuff (loss, failure, uncertainty) comes knocking on your door. And that just makes me feel good.


I’m no movie director, but I have had a bit of fun lately putting together a bit of a video to the first chapter of the audiobook version of The River and the Ravages. Unfortunately I don’t have the budget of George RR Martin so it’s a simple, meditative, hopefully evocative fourteen minutes of finely narrated story to just sit and listen to, and be transported to another place and time. Please check it out on my Youtube channel The World of JM Lawler. And please leave comments…I’d love to hear from you.

Free Audiobook Offer!

If audiobooks float your boat, I’m giving away ten free audiobook versions of The River and the Ravages, and you stand a good chance of being a lucky winner (before this subscriber list gets out of hand). Just send an email to with the title ‘Audiobook lover’ and you’re in with a chance. The first ten to respond will be notified via email with their code to redeem their free copy of The River and the Ravages via It would be mighty appreciated that those successful in winning a free audiobook leave reviews of the book on Amazon and Audible. Good luck all ye fine book-loving folk!

Stay tuned for the August newsletter as I’ll be announcing the title for book two and pre-order details for a scheduled early 2019 release. Yipee!

Thanks for reading. I think you’re all wonderful. And please PLEASE leave a review of the book on Goodreads and Amazon. Us newbies really need your help to stay in game. We don’t have a big influential publishing house pulling the strings. We’re reliant on our readers. On you!

Have a great July. And always remember to Quell the storm, Ride the thunder.

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