NaNo? yeah, nah…kinda?

November is almost upon us, and with it, the madness of NaNoWriMo. The internet is being flooded with posts for and against, and writers everywhere are taking sides in the yearly debate of whether you can write a decent novel in a month, or whether you can call yourself a writer if you only write in November/during these challenges etc etc.

I don’t really care to get involved in that. There are pros and cons, and every writer is different. Personally, I can’t, at this point, fathom writing that many words in a month though I have done it before, and I may well do it again in the future.


This is Xanthe. She’s about 15 now and sleeps ~20 hrs a day. Mainly she wakes up to yawn (like this), have some smooches and eat/drink. She is one of the most beautiful cats I’ve seen :-)

What I DO care about, is how much fun it is to write alongside others. So, this November I will be working on the second novella in the Witches of Kotahi Bay series (aka: the book that comes after In the Spirit, but doesn’t have a title yet). I’m thinking it’ll top out around the 20K mark, and it will be an absolute blast to write – made more fun by participating in a bunch of word sprints over twitter and facebook, and experiencing the joy that is writing alongside some of my favourite writer friends.

Bring it!!! COME ON. I want it to be Nov 1st!!!

I’m spending the last few days of October trying to pin down a few more plot points, but I already have half the book written in my head and I am so very much looking forward to having a new adventure with Alyssa, her best friend Kelly, Mrs Nolan and the new guy who has moved in down the road. I’m also crushing on kittens right now, so I think I’ll give Alyssa one to keep her company.

So, if you’re writing in November, you won’t find me signed up on the NaNo site, but you will find me online. I’ve got some writing sprints locked down for every Tuesday and Wednesday (probably in the am), but I’m up for writing sprints just about whenever – hit me up at @JCHart


And it’s off to the proofreaders!

Last night I finished the final edit of In the Spirit. GOSH that felt good! I’ve gone through this book countless times now, and it still makes me laugh and smile. I adore Alyssa, and hopefully you’re not so sick of hearing about her by the time the book releases that you’ll still want to read her story!

IMG_20141026_082332658This morning I did something I haven’t in years. I printed off the whole thing. Normally I wouldn’t, but a friend wants to proof it for me (aka: she desperately wants to read it right now and not wait until it’s released), so I thought, hey, why not?? I’ll be dropping that in to her later this morning, and sending out digital copies to my other proofreaders.

It’s all feeling a bit more real now :-) How am I going to wait until December 1st to get this out there? I’m so excited about this, folks!!!

Anyway. I still have lots to do. Finalize the cover with my graphic designer, write all the extras a book needs, including a blurb! AND, finish planning book two. I’m going to be writing Alyssa’s next book during November and I’m buzzing about that.

Yes, life is good. And the writing life is even better.

A timely reminder

In the lead up to self-publishing my first novella I’m having all the feels. You know, joy, elation, doubt, fear. There is a bit of conflict going on internally around my desire to actually make a career out of my writing, and the desire to hide it away from the world because it’s never going to be good enough *throws forearm over eyes, drama queen styles*. J.C. Hart wants a career, Cassie want to tell everyone not to buy her book, but to wait until she has free days and just get it then. J.C. Hart loves her books and wants to share them with the world, while Cassie loves them but is sure she’s going to be the only one.


I do want this. I just have to get over my lifelong wallflower tendencies.

As someone said to me recently. Hurry up. Your first release is never going to be amazing, nor is it going to change the world, not even your world, get it done, figure out what you can do better and then do it again.

Well, actually, he just said ‘Fail faster’, but that was what I took away from it.

Until I actually get out there and start doing it, I’ve got no real idea of what is going to happen. I have a feeling it might be a little like having a baby – no matter how many books you read about it, or which classes you attend, you can never really be prepared. Things will be different to what you expect. I have really reasonable, low expectations, but there is no way to predict outcomes in this business.

So, I’ll focus on what I can control. Writing great books, editing them until they are the best I can make them, and then getting them out there into the world.

Post study – update one

I’m about 10 days out of student life, and while things are looking good, there are certainly carryovers of study life that I am yet to shake.

Like, the horrible level of anxiety which crept up on me over the last few months. I think that this will start to dissipate once a few thing happen – namely, I have the results of my final assignments back and know 100% without a doubt that I’m done. And when I have Lauren’s home schooling approval sorted as well. Right now, both of those things are weighing on my mind an awful lot, to the point where some days it’s hard to get motivated to do anything outside of be here with my kids and facilitate their awesome learning experiences. I’m really enjoying just being with them and not thinking about the essay I should be working on.

However, I still feel like I should be working on an essay!!! This year was intense as I took on a halftime course load on top of life (which is always busy anyway). I have these little panic attacks where I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. I check frequently that I actually DID hand in those last assignments on time and that there aren’t any I somehow forgot about – I guess having that wrong final date in mine for the last one is probably to thank for this. Again, I hope this will be over once I have those final grades. It would be kind of awesome if I could get through a few days without having an anxiety/panic attack or freaking myself out.

I love the irony that I’ve got a Post Grad Diploma in Counselling but can’t seem to talk myself into feeling better about all of this. I know all the techniques, but it’s always harder to apply them to oneself ;-)

In more positive news, I managed to take that week off (mostly)! Afterwards, I realized I probably need more like a month, in a isolated cabin, where someone else is catering to my every need and I can just sleep 16 hours a day and read the rest. Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen, so I am going to have to try and take it easy on myself over the next wee while, and let myself take breaks when I need them. I’ve come to realize that I feel responsible for much more than I really am, and am working on stepping back and shaking loose some things I don’t need/want anymore.

And, finally, in some writing news, I am working on my final final final edit for In The Spirit!! This novella will be released on Dec 1st, and I’m thoroughly excited about it! I’ll share more in the near future, once I have my head around the whole thing :-)

I hope you guys are all doing well! Can you believe it’s November soon? I’m trying not to get panicky about that. It doesn’t take much right now though lol.

Print books and the rise of an old desire

Since finishing study, I have accumulated a pile of paper books. Now, I’ve been an e-book convert or close to 3 years now, so this is a strange occurrence for me. I (hate to confess this but have to…) actually do not have a bookshelf. *waits for the gasps and outrage*. Hear me out, please? I have kids, and in their early years they liked nothing more than to trash my book shelves. I had two. The moment I was out of the room for anything, the books would end up all over the floor and I just couldn’t stand it. Those book defenseless books :-(

So, I packed up the ones I couldn’t part with and kept them in boxes under the bed, and I donated the rest to charity. The bookshelves became toy shelves and I no longer had to worry that any books would be destroyed in the making of my small people.

IMG_20141016_072540564That was about 5 years ago.

And now that they are all substantially older, I am beginning to think it might be time to start a new bookshelf*. Break open the boxes and set my books free. Because, as much as I love to read on my kindle, as much time as I’ve spent teaching them that it isn’t just a book, but a whole library, I don’t think they really get it. Since I’ve started reading print books again, they have started realizing that I do spend a fair bit of time reading. The kindle appears to be just another ‘screen’ as far as they are concerned lol. So, lead by example right?

Now, onto the books…. I grabbed The Strain a few months ago because it was going for 50c at the library. And then I went to the Warehouse on Saturday morning to find they were getting rid of books for a ridiculous $1.47. So I grabbed Doctor Sleep, Cujo, and Grim. And then yesterday Carnival of Souls(officially Carnival of Secrets) arrived in the post from the lovely Book Chatter Cath. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of reading!!!

*Naturally, the kids have bookshelves, two, jam packed with books.

The Beatles notebook

#notebookappreciation is something a few friends and I were chatting about on twitter the other night. After clearing out my desk I came across some much neglected notebooks, and some that had been used for study. Well, that’s all been resolved now and I thought it was time to share some of my favourite notebooks with the world, seeing as I’m hoping to do more handwritten work for brainstorming ideas and planning. There is something about connecting pen with paper that helps unblock, untangle and solve a whole bunch of problems.

IMG_20141014_084220155So, here is my current fav. This is the one that goes everywhere with me right now. This notebook languished in a kitchen cupboard for a bit. I purchased it to add recipes that I found online and really liked, but I think I only managed to put 3 in there, 2 of which I use so often I don’t need the recipe anymore. I love it for a few reasons:

A) The Beatles!! My parents were big Beatles fans. I grew up listening to their records so they have a special place in my heart. When I saw this, it gave me a massive jolt of nostalgia. Instant purchase.

B) It has tear out pages, which is great for me. As much as I love writing in notebooks, I also like to declutter them at times. I can jot down anything in this one and then tear out the pages easily – I can then stick them into another notebook if they belong with a different set of notes, or chuck it out entirely. Win!

C) the paper is really nice to write on. It’s got a lovely smooth texture that makes the pen flow across it. <3

IMG_20141014_084310879Oh and D), it’s also got different coloured tabs on it!! I like this as well, because I can separate out my thoughts. At one point the blue was for novel revision notes (actually, still is). The red had notes from my readings for assignments, the green had notes about home schooling stuff, and the grey has been permanently neglected, but I’m sure I’ll correct that soon.

Some of the gals from twitter also have Beatles notebooks, so I know I’m not alone!!

What is your favourite notebook and why?

I’m keen to get some new ones and indulge in more handwriting.

Things I found in my desk

Over the weekend I spent some time cleaning out my desk – eradicating all traces of study and making it a writerly space again. So. Good. It all feels a lot better now that I know there are no text books or study guides lurking in there. I tore all my study notes out of the various notebooks/pads I’d scrawled on over this year and discovered some things I hadn’t seen in quite some time.

IMG_20141012_081322125Exhibit A is the beginning of the first draft of my story The Dead Way. Everyone writes their horror stories in pink pen right? You know, I don’t even recall starting the story handwritten. I hardly ever do that, though at times it helps me connect with my story more, and I think The Dead Way is a good example of that paying off.

IMG_20141013_113940794Exhibit B is a deck of The Zombie Survival Guide that my husband gave me. I think I’ve barely had a chance to open the deck, let alone have a good look, so it was awesome to stumble on it again – perfect timing too, what with The Walking Dead starting back tonight ;-)

And lastly, there is this. I’m not even sure what it’s called, or what exactly it’s used for. All I know is that it’s from Disneyland and my father brought it home for me that time he was in America and decided he should go and enjoy all the rides he promised he’d one day take us too… Still waiting, Dad!



I’ve been holding onto this for… Jeepers. I’d say 15 years or more. Maybe half my life? It might be the closest I ever get to Disneyland, so I figure it’s worth keeping. But, if anyone knows what I’m meant to be using it for I’d love to hear!! Maybe I can get some mileage out of it ;-)