Day-dreaming

You know how I said I was taking a holiday? Well, we did go away for a few days, but my brain hasn’t stopped working, other than to fail at combining sentences and finding the right word for things.

As we drove to Rotorua my mind was turning over ideas and options for the novella I’ll be writing in December. I saw a lake at the bottom of a waterfall that sparked my imagination, and then the mist as we climbed into the hills, and then once we were at my inlaws I collapsed on the bed for a bit and more things connected. Over the next few days a whole town emerged with snippets of my personal history intertwined and I began to get really excited about writing in a New Zealand setting.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I often don’t place my stories. They aren’t grounded anywhere in particular, and I’ve actively avoided writing about NZ for a long time. I’m totally ready to embrace my country and my heritage in my writing though and I’m excited to see how it all turns out.

Of course, I still need a character, and a story line, but I am sure those will come. The MC is beginning to talk to me, and I know that as we get to know each other I’ll be able to piece her story together – whether I can make it fit into a novella is another matter entirely, but I’ll do the best I can.

And so October is almost done. November will see much planning, for both the novella, as well as the rewrite of Sun-Touched. I think it’s going to be really interesting, seeing if I can work on the outlines for both at the same time. They are quite different – one being urban fantasy, and the other science fiction – but at the story level, there are bound to be things they have in common.

What have you got in store for the new month? How many of you are doing NaNo this year?

On the hunt for a new album

Throughout the writing of Sun-Touched, I had one album that I put on repeat. Whenever I sat down to write, it was there. If I was trying to write and it wasn’t on, at times I struggled. It helped to get me in the zone, to focus me on the writing – even though the type of music, the lyrics, etc in no way, shape or form mimicked/added to/accented the type of story I was writing.

Now that Sun-Touched is done. I feel a little like I am done with that album. I want something new (to me), something fresh to accompany me while I write my next piece.

May is going to be full of planning, so it’s the perfect time to stop and find some new writing music. Seeing as I have two projects coming up, I need two different albums! And this time, I am going to try and do a better job of matching the albums to the stories.

I’m so out of the loop with the music scene though, that this could prove to be challenging. I may need your help.

The novella I plan to write in June is about an older woman’s journey to reclaim a part of her heritage that many of her people have abandoned. She travels with her baby grandson, whose parents are dead, so a lot of the time she’ll be virtually alone. As much as it’s a physical journey, it’s also an emotional/spiritual journey, so that’s going to be interesting to write.

On the other hand, my YA science fiction series is full of action and drama, romance and conflict (or will be when I’m done with it!).

Any suggestions for music to check out?

The End

Yesterday, for the first time in almost four years, I wrote those words at the bottom of the last page of a novel.

That’s right, folks. The first draft of Sun-Touched is finished.

WOOOOOOOOOOO. It feels amazing, and yet at the same time, I know that it is in no way a finished novel. It needs a lot of love, a lot of filling in and fleshing out, it needs plenty of tweaks and changes.

But for now, it’s done. I can step away from it, happy that I’ve finally cracked my novel-drought, having proven to myself that I CAN still do it. I think it’s got oodles of potential, and when it’s the right time, I’ll get back to work on it.

So, a few thoughts. I started this novel back in October, on Wednesday the 12th to be exact. I wrote in chunks, some weeks being really good, and others not good at all. I had to contend with Christmas, a road trip, two sets of school holidays and a number of other family/friend troubles. We started going to Playcentre, and I started studying…

It took me seven and a half months to write the thing, but I got there in the end. I’m sure the next one won’t take so long ;-) With everything else that went on, I think that time frame for a first new novel post baby isn’t too bad.

Anyway, yesterday my friend Leigh tagged me in a ‘Lucky Seven’ post, and seeing as pretty much everyone I know has been tagged by now, I am not going to put anyone on the list.

The rules are that you must post an excerpt from one of your books and this excerpt has to be seven sentences, lines or paragraphs from page 77, seven lines down.

Without further ado, here is a snippet from Sun-Touched.

The creature hesitated for just a moment before entering her body. It broached the skin of her chest, half disappearing. She felt sick watching it, so she shut her eyes, blocking out the sight of it.

The same sensations as yesterday crashed over her and she lost the ability to tread water. She began to sink, catching a mouthful of liquid before finding herself buoyed by the creature. It wasn’t doing anything that she could see, and yet it was the only explanation Madea could think of. She felt lighter, stable, despite the emotions that were overwhelming her.

What’s next? Well, I have some major planning to do for TCM, as well as some on another project, a novella which I will be writing in June. I still have to finish polishing off Longing and submit that (Today’s task), and then there is the essay… Funny how I said I was going to do that, and then finished my novel instead ;-)

I intend to take the weekend off! I totally deserve it. Though no doubt I will find myself being drawn to something or other… We’ll see. I’m flexible. I feel positive and full of excitement. I mean, I finished my novel!!! How great is that?

I hope April is turning out better than you expected – I had high hopes, realized there was no way I was going to get everything done, and then found a way to do it all anyway – so it’s never too late to turn your month around.

A long week

So much has happened in the last week and a half, big changes and small, happy things and sad things. All up it’s felt very long and exhausting. I kept thinking of things to blog about, but in general just didn’t have the energy for it, so thought I would catch you all up in a series of snippets. I’m going to start with some good things, then some not so good things, then more good things, because lets face it, no one likes to end on a bad note ;-)

The Good!
My beautiful Ivy turned seven. I can’t believe she is already so big! We had some birthday stuff over the weekend, with my wonderful mother taking over the birthday dinner organization on Saturday night because I was still a bit of a mess. Mum rocked it, and we had a great time with my mother in law, and brothers wee family coming to Mum’s for dinner as well.

Then on Tuesday one of my very good friends saved my ass by baking a lovely cake for Ivy’s actual birthday, and by picking her up so that I didn’t have to do the school thing (actually, she grabbed her on Wed as well. Claire rocks!).

The Bad:
Mishka’s death on Friday afternoon really messed me up. On top of that, Natalie got a cold which she then passed to me, and I was so numb with grief that I didn’t realize I was having some intense neck and back pain until my mother pointed out to me that I looked like I was in physical pain! Ack. Well. I guess now we know that grief IS good for something. I am still sore, and still sick, a whole week later.

I also felt like I was bashing my head against a wall when it came to outlining. More about that soon.

The Bad which is also the Good:
Last Wednesday, while I was at training for Lifeline, I started crying and couldn’t stop. This is usually a really good indicator to me that something has to change. I realized that I was feeling anxious about the whole thing – not because of the nature of the work, but because of the time commitments and the fact that my children are still so little. I decided to pull out now, and delay it for another couple years when I will have a more flexible time table, and the kids are in school. This was sad because it IS something I really want to do. But it’s also really good because I wasn’t ready to be ‘working’ outside of the house, and I was able to figure out what was wrong and how I could fix it.

More Good:
I got a book in the mail!

I nailed my outline for TCM!!!

And, what’s more, felt so excited to have figured out a way to do it, that I decided to work on outlining the rest of Sun-Touched. It was good timing, as I realized if I kept writing without knowing what was going to happen, I would end up floundering. I’ve had some exciting thoughts about the novel, and while I’m still working on finishing off the outline, at least now I have faith in my ability to solve problems, and figure out sequences and structure. I know that the right information will come to me soon enough.

Phew. There we have it. The week and a half that was. I’m feeling a lot more positive this weekend, and the initial haze of grief has passed. I still feel a little hollow, a little tender, a little like I am missing my shadow. I know that the ache will fade though the memory of her never will.

There are lots of good things in my future, and lots of things to smile about. So I am going to focus on those and look forward to everything that’s to come.