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Goodbye, Nana

On the 30th of November my grandmother died.

She’d had a massive stroke on the 26th and we rushed up to be with her. She wasn’t conscious during those last days, but she was responsive in other ways. I spent two of those nights sitting with her, with my mother and aunt one night, and my mother and brother another. I got to share stories with the family who were able to come, stroll down memory lane, and say all the things I needed to before she passed. It was a really precious time.

It still doesn’t seem like it was enough.

She was cremated a few days later. Those attending had the chance to draw on her plain pine coffin, or write messages. It was pretty cool.

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This month on the 20th we gathered again – more people this time, not just her immediate family – to celebrate her life. The memorial was great and I heard a lot of stories I’ve heard before, as well as some new ones. Saw people I hadn’t seen in over a decade, spent time in her home, looking through all her treasures and hearing stories triggered by different items. ‘I remember when’, or ‘do you remember when?’

She played such a huge role in our family, and it’s strange that now as the executors of her will work toward resolving that, and items start to leave the house for their new homes, I feel sadder than ever before.

As my uncle said earlier today, until that point it seemed like she might just come home. It was a nice fantasy. One that is over.

R.I.P Nana. As my littlest said we know you loved us, we’ll always love you and you’ll always be in our hearts.

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January, Uncategorized

Shiny Maths

I’ve been doing quite a bit of tracking lately, mostly of words written and time taken. It’s been a revelation!! I’ve discovered some really interesting things.

I can write an average of 10,000 words a week.

I can write an average of 2,500 words an hour (that’s rounding down, it’s often a bit higher but I’m being kind to myself).

I’m working on averages because my life is chaotic. I homeschool three kids. I have bipolar 2 and my mood fluctuates. I homeschool three kids. Three kids who are all kind of high needs in different ways, on different days. Life is not going to get less chaotic anytime soon, so averages are a really good thing for me. Looking beyond what I did today, and instead, looking at what I did over a week, or a month, makes me feel much better about my progress. I’m so glad to have finally realized this.

Anyway, why the shiny maths?

Because math is awesome! And because when I’m trying to figure out what I can do over a year, it gives me a really good way to work out what’s achievable and what’s me being manic.

So, 10,000 x 52 – 520,000 words – WHOA. Now that seems high. I know writers who do more though, a lot more. Some people write a million words a year (one day I might be one of them).

This year is going to be a little higgedly piggeldy though. January is already full of stress (my grandmothers official funeral/life celebration coming up, the house has just gone on the market, open homes upcoming, packing, preparing for the move). February is going to be full of much of the same, with actually moving in the mix, as well as settling back into life in our old house.

So, let’s scale that word count down a bit, shall we? Let’s say, 430,000.

Dang, that’s still a good chunk of words.

I’ve got some really fun ideas about how to spend them too, such as:

SunTouched_ECover_10-8-15v2Finishing the series that I started with Sun Touched. This has to be the book I am most asked about, probably because it’s now my only incomplete series. I promise I’m working on it! I’m going to be reading Sun Touched again in the near future and marking it up with lots of notes about what comes next. I had plans for a few more books, but I want to reconnect with the story before I determine just how long the series will be.

Publishing the series that begins with Butcherbird. I’m in LOVE with this series. I’ve written book one as well as a shorter piece that I’ll be giving away for free to subscribers in the near future. I’m already planning book two, and will probably do a trilogy to begin with. Think horror elements, family – by blood/by choice, demonic possession, birds. Lots of birds. Alcohol.

Starting a new series in a shared world! I’m really excited about this, and my main character, Juniper, is ITCHING to be written. I’m going to dip my toes into this one soon and I can’t wait. Juni is so many things that I’m not, and I can see she’s going to kick my ass on the page, and off. In a good way though. I think she’s here to teach me a few tough lessons. Think old gods, dark hungers, kick-ass women, violence, and humour.

I’m also hashing out the details for some potential co-writing with a good friend of mine, and ideas for another series (or three?). The ideas are coming thick and fast lately!

Despite all the change that’s about to crash into my life, despite a bunch of stuff being up in the air, I’m feeling really alive – invigorated – when it comes to my writing.

2018 is going to be a hella good year, people. Let’s make it so.

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It’s Sir Julius Vogel nomination time!

It’s that time of the year again – not long until the Sir Julius Vogel award nomination period ends (Feb 2nd!!). Normally I’m a little more on to it than this, but with everything that’s been going on for the last couple of months, it’s slipped my mind entirely!

So, to cut to the chase, I actually have some stuff eligible this year! I had four releases in 2017, though I don’t think Serafina’s Flame qualifies as the first third was previously published as Burn and was nominated some years ago.

This leaves Beneath Broken Waves or Of Souldust and Starlight in the novella category and In the Earth’s Embrace in the novel category (huzzah! a longer work!). If you read these books and think they are worthy of a nomination, then you can click on this shiny form and fill in the details. It’s pretty straightforward. Please only nominate something if you really did enjoy it though!

I’d also like to note that if you think any of these covers are particularly good (I think they are ALL beautiful), then you can also nominate my cover designer Kate Strawbridge from Dwell Design & Press for best artwork.

Normally I’d make note of some of the amazing work by other authors I think should be nominated but I’ve had a headache for weeks now and I can’t think straight. I need to do some looking around myself to find out what was published in that period so I can get nominating too!

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2017 in review

When I looked back through my blog to see if I’d actually set myself goals for the year I could see just how little I’d blogged in 2017. I think it might be the quietest year since I started this, and that makes me feel a little sad. But I think it’s a really good reflection on just how much this year ended up being about keeping things together.

Last year I posted a little about how the preceding years had been a lot about keeping afloat, surviving, getting through and I chose FOCUS as my word for 2017. 

Yeah. Well. I guess I was focused for some of it. If it was a goal to work towards then I’d like to say that over the course of the year I nailed that sucker. I’m coming out of 2017 feeling focused and with big goals for the coming year.

Last year I wrote:

2017 will be a year of words. A year of saying no to the things I don’t really want to do but maybe feel like I should. Of saying YES to my own worlds.

And I can say that I achieved all of these things. Sure, not all at once, but I got there. Despite reflecting on the fact that I’ve had a few hard years, I’m going to say that 2017 has been the worst in a really long time. I’ve had massive patches of depression, the death of my much loved Nana, struggles with health across the family, PTSD flare-ups, massive amounts of stress in the lead up to the convention in June.

And yet, I still got more achieved this year than I have in a long time. 

Once the convention was all done I had a heap of space in my brain for other things and I got really stuck into working on my writing. This year I published four new titles: Serafina’s Flame (which is Burn + the two follow-on novellas in a single title), Beneath Broken Waves, In the Earth’s Embrace, and Of Souldust and Starlight – the final three books in the Kotahi Bay series. This wraps up 2/3 of the series I started back in 2015 and I couldn’t be happier about that. It feels really good to finish some things. Which isn’t to say there will never be another Kotahi Bay book, there might be, just not right now. 

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Did I say no to more things? Yeah, I did. I turned down some work, I let a few clients know that I wasn’t going to be able to edit for them anymore. I didn’t leap at every opportunity so much as suggested in my presence, and I stopped feeling like I had to do things just because it was the nice thing to do. I started using the ‘I’d love to say yes, but I need some time to think about it before I can commit’ line with people. I was more honest about when I just couldn’t, and that felt really good too. To actually just say ‘I really can’t, I’m tapped out’ when that was the truth. I feel like while I still have some work to do in that area, I’ve gotten a lot better at putting my needs near the front of the list, which has gone a long way to helping out my mental health situation.

So, while 2017 was a hard fucking year. It really was – I’ve not been so close to a complete break down in a really long time, I barely held it together at several points, hell, maybe I DID have some small breakdowns – it was also a really successful one. I wrote and published books. I made huge leaps in my author world and implemented some really good strategies for both work and personal life. Boundaries, yo. I think I’m getting some 😉 Self-care? Definitely improving on that front too. 

I’m still mulling on my goal specifics for 2018, so I’ll post about them next week – I feel like it’s going to be a good year though, and can only hope it has a few less big challenges in it.

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And the series is complete

I’ve been so busy writing my next book that I’ve slacked off on sharing the good news – Kotahi Bay is finally done! The final book in the series is now available for pre-order at the price of 99c. It’ll go up once it’s live so if you want a bargain get in now.

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The final book follows Samantha, who has been a part of the series since the very beginning. In fact, it was her story that I started out wanting to tell, only to then realize it was the last piece of the series, not the first. Things have morphed and changed a bit along the way, but I’m so pleased to have finally finished this series and given Sam her story.

It feels a little surreal to have finally finished this series, though there is always the possibility that I’ll return to the world of the Bay with fresh stories to tell.

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In the Earth’s Embrace

It’s almost ready! I’m uploading the files at the moment and will post the link as soon as I have one.

If you read In the Spirit, then you’re going to love this one – Alyssa is back with a whole new bunch of problems!

In The Earths Embrace_ECover4If she thought the only skeleton in her closet was a ghost, she was dead wrong.

Alyssa’s finally settling into life in Kotahi Bay, and things are good. Mostly. Only, she hasn’t really made any friends. Oh, and people keep insisting that she take over her dead grandmother’s role as the town witch. But if she’s learned anything about her family it’s that magic has a way of warping even the best of them. Alyssa doesn’t want a bar of that so she continues to do what she does best–ignore the problem and hope it goes away–until her best friend Kelly shows up with secrets of her own.

Despite his intimate connection with death, necromancer Brandon needs help or his terminally ill nephew will die. The only way to get the cure is to convince Alyssa to become the town witch, or – worse – raise her grandmother from the grave. He thought he’d put his dark past behind him, but isn’t a life more important?

Can Alyssa and Brandon find a way through the secrets and lies that surround them, or will they doom Kotahi Bay to darkness?

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Beneath Broken Waves pre-order special!

Hey, so Beneath Broken Waves is available for pre-order now, and at a special price of 99c – click HERE to pick your vendor of choice!

The price will go up to $2.99 after the 6th of October, so get in now.

Beneath Broken Waves_ECoverCan they trust each other enough to save a dying god?

Jake’s ability to amplify magic makes him useful to others, but means he’s always playing second fiddle. When he uncovers a toxin seeping into the ocean, he hopes that finding the source might gain him the respect he so desperately craves. That is if he can keep the daughter of the sea from killing him.

Moana has lived beneath the waves for so long she can’t remember what it was like to be human. She knows they’re to blame for the poison leeching into her waters and she’ll do anything to save her father, even if it means taking lives. But when Moana lures Jake into the ocean, something about him stays her hand. This young mortal makes her feel alive again, and what’s more, she has a feeling she can use him for more than just his blood.

BBWblogWill Jake and Moana be able to stop the threat to the sea god, and the Bay?

Beneath Broken Waves is the second book in the gripping Kotahi Bay series by J.C. Hart. If you like evocative paranormal romance with dark undertones then grab your copy and discover the Bay for yourself.

This volume also includes previously published novella In the Spirit, your first introduction to Alyssa, the main character from In the Earth’s Embrace (Kotahi Bay #3).

Kotahi Bay, Uncategorized

Beneath Broken Waves cover reveal

Hey 🙂

So, with the launch of this book in just a few weeks, I thought it was time to show you the cover! It’s so PRETTY!

What do you think? I love Moana, and I hope you’ll love her too.

I’ll post the blurb as soon as I’m done agonising over it (and agonise, I will). This book follows on directly from The Way the Sky Curves – but this time following Jake (Melody’s younger brother), and Moana (daughter of the sea), it also includes In the Spirit, which is an important read to introduce you to Alyssa, the main character of book 3.

If you haven’t read The Way the Sky Curves, go here! It’s available at a range of stores right now for only 99c.

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Starting Over

When I published the first book in my Kotahi Bay series, I had no freaking clue what indie publishing entailed. None. I don’t think I quite knew that then, so I made the leap, and a bunch of mistakes – I published what became book 2.5 first, and then followed up with the 1st in the series, and then went on to publish first books in other series.

And then life transpired, it got complex and I got bogged down in it.

Time passed, as it has a way of doing, and now here I am, about to finish what I started – with a fresh start.

I’m relaunching The Way the Sky Curves with its shiny new cover on the 15th of September, and what will follow from there is a release approximately every three weeks until the series is complete. Four books. A few months. It’s all written, I just have to finish polishing each book up.

Wish me luck 😉

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Long time, no blog

After I tweaked my website a few months back the blog kind of disappeared and I bought into that whole ‘blogging is dead’ thing. But I kept thinking about it, and the thoughts niggled in the back of my mind.

I have no idea if you missed me or not, but I missed this, so I’m back!

I’d like to tell you lots of wonderful news, but I don’t have any. I’d love to say I’ve been crazy-busy getting my next book ready for you, but I can’t even say that either. Life has been full and busy but it’s not leaving me with a lot of space for writing. This space seems to get increasingly small the closer we get to LexiCon.

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For those that might not know (because I haven’t been talking about it a whole lot on here) I’m the co-chair of this year’s National Science Fiction and Fantasy convention – and it’s happening in just a few weeks now! OMG I have convention packs to make, and a million things to organize, including many things to feel pre-emptively anxious about, such as pronouncing things correctly, speaking in front of a hundred and fifty or so people (insert pukey face here), and meeting best-selling, award-winning author Seanan McGuire (I keep trying to tell myself she’s just a person, but she’s an incredibly COOL person and I’m bound to say stupid things or be incoherent due to the aforementioned stress and panic).

I’m so grateful that we have some awesome people on our ConCom to make the task less daunting, most of us had very little experience going in but *knocks on wood* it all seems to be coming together quite nicely. Fifteen days til I head to Taupo…

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End of April, start of May – stars for writing, hearts for not being awful to myself

Just so you don’t think I’ve been completely flakey, I HAVE been doing some work. It’s just that the amount of said work is shrinking.

I had really high hopes of getting the nearly final draft of Kotahi Bay #2 done before Convention, but I want to produce quality and with my brain the way it is right now I just can’t guarantee it.

Here is photographic evidence (of the work, not my mushy brain).