authors, Awards, june, Uncategorized

Au Contraire 2016

This weekend past I attended my second ever SFF convention. It was a long weekend, full of socializing, sitting in on fascinating panels and discussions, and which for me meant convening my first ever panel (Mythology, with amazing panelists), attending a launch for At the Edge (which has my short story Hope Lies North included), the SJV Awards (where I didn’t win anything), and a closing ceremony (during which I won a prize for having the best-coloured hair – truly impressive, because there were some awesome colours present!).

PhotoGrid_1465124777173I came home sick, but that was expected. It just would have been really nice if I hadn’t begun the weekend sick! lol I had a horrible case of vertigo all weekend, headaches, and a terribly sore tailbone after the first day or so of sitting. Despite the discomfort, I really enjoyed my time away! There were so many great talks, and I got to meet one of my favourite authors – Juliet Marillier. It was almost six years ago that I was geeking out over appearing alongside her in A Foreign Country, so it was really neat to meet her and to find she is just as lovely in person as online.

PhotoGrid_1465511685331I also came home feeling reconnected with the writing community in NZ. To see such a bounty of fantastic authors (who are also fantastic people!), to just hang, to talk story and craft and all the other stuff that goes along with being a writer was really awesome. Pretty much all of my local writing groups collided, and no-one died on impact 😉 New connections were made, old ones strengthened. It’s a beautiful thing.

We also got to make an announcement about LexiCon, but it’s secret squirrel for now! Keep an eye out next week for that one. We’re almost finished lining up our guests of honour and after the weekend we have an abundance of panels to pick from. It finally feels like a real living thing. We all wanted to give Au Contraire it’s time to shine, and it did. It was a great weekend. Now it’s our turn 🙂

Special thanks to all my writing crew for making it the weekend it was. You know who you are!! ❤ MISS YOU!!!

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April, authors, Burn, Characters, Fantasy, Friday, I'm in love, productivity, progress, Uncategorized

Friday I’m in love…

It’s been ages since I’ve done a Friday, I’m in love. But today it’s perfect for it to be Friday, and perfect for me to be in love.

You see, I’m very close to finishing the first draft of the last book in a series. Which in itself is a first for me.

Confused?

I hope not. I wrote Burn years ago, and published it a little over a year ago. That novella began from a themed call for submissions which included an older female protagonist. Carmel took that role, in place of a younger version of her who originally held it in an even earlier story prompt… This thing has a long history.

20150803_203741Burn didn’t make it into that particular anthology, seeing as I accidentally submitted a psychology assignment instead of the book… But, that just meant I had the freedom to publish it on my own, and I’ve enjoyed doing so. It’s got a few fans, and everyone who reads it wants more.

The only thing is that I’d never planned to write more, not on that story anyway, so I had to stop what I was doing and make a decision – write the story I’d originally intended, or write the one my readers most wanted. I opted for the latter. I’m not entirely sure that was the best decision because I have struggled with the sequels for longer than I’d have expected to. But it’s been really fantastic learning experience.

Anyway, I finished Flare a few weeks back, gave it a round of revision and sent it off to betas – they loved it. They told me this just as I was reaching the final scenes of Ignite, and that added to the overwhelming feeling that I was going about this all wrong. In fact, my characters showed up on the page and revealed something which almost made me quit. I’ve since convinced them that my original plan was better, and they’ve realigned themselves with a little convincing.

And I’m really happy with how it’s all coming out. I mean, I was REALLY worried about finishing this series, getting it right, doing a good enough job. But instead of the intense angst I felt around it last week, now I am blissful. It’s all come together. I’m tying up the storylines, I’m totally at peace with the way this is concluding, and for possibly the first time in my writer life I’m not rushing towards the ending, desperate to close it off and never look at it again.

I’m doing it right. And it feels SO GOOD.

authors, February, Friday, I'm in love, vlog, writer

Friday, I’m in love- on Thursday!

Because I am one of those people who gets all nervous about stuff and goes back and forth and pikes out on occasion, I decided to post tomorrow’s offering today.

I was killing time between getting some groceries and picking up my youngest kids from a friends house, so I parked up at the lookout above their house and enjoyed the wind and rain. And then I thought. Hey! It’s QUIET. Let’s make a video! No prep, no makeup, no filters, no script, no bloody idea what I was doing…

So here it is. One take, spur of the moment.

 

If you have any suggestions or advice (or requests!), then please do let me know 🙂 I am super noob at this. My eldest has the following to say: turn your phone the other way around! Make lots of videos about cats. POST MORE. Make her (my daughter) famous.

authors, Awards, Best Novella, Burn, etherhart press, Fantasy, New Zealand, new zealand author, self publishing, Sir Julius Vogel Award, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves

Sir Julius Vogel Nominations are open!

smback-v5The nomination period for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards has officially opened! Between now and 8pm on the 28th of February 2016, you can nominate your favourite NZ works in a range of categories.

This year I have several works eligible, so if you feel like any are worth nominating, below are the essential items – you can just copy and paste (one email per nominated work), and add your contact details to #7, and boom, it’s done!

If you do – thank you very much! And if you don’t – that’s totally cool too 🙂 Nominate something else, because there are plenty of AMAZING eligible works. This past year has been really great for kiwi fiction, and I know I’ll be nominating a fair few myself.

ESSENTIAL Information

This is to enable SFFANZ to verify and process the nomination.

  1. Sun Touched
  2. J.C. Hart
  3. Novel
  4. 2015
  5. Professional Awards
  6. Science Fiction
  7. [your contact details here]
  1. Burn
  2. J.C. Hart
  3. Novella
  4. 2015
  5. Professional Awards
  6. Fantasy
  7. [your contact details here]
  1. The Way the Sky Curves
  2. J.C. Hart
  3. Novella
  4. 2015
  5. Professional Awards
  6. Fantasy
  7. [your contact details here]

Nominations can be sent to: sjv_awards@sffanz.org.nz

A-Z challenge, authors, books, Characters, Fantasy, Kotahi Bay

L is for Lies

Little white lies. Big fat ones. Most of us tell them now and then. I try not to lie too much in my every day life, not even when my kids ask me how babies are made, or whether the tooth fairy is real, or what a cannibal is and whether I’ve ever tasted human flesh (I haven’t, for the record, but we’ve had a few conversations now about what might make someone turn to cannibalism and the cultures in which this was historically done).

But writing fiction is all about lying. About creating marvelous stories. About spinning a tale tall and wide, capturing the reader in our web and attempting to make them forget that the characters they are reading about aren’t real.

It’s about telling lies so good that you could almost believe them.

For me, the really beautiful part about telling these lies though, is that at the core there is truth. The essence of what it is to be human. The pain, the joy, the horror. The awkward moments, the precious, the ones that keep you up at night for better or worse. Within the realms of science fiction, fantasy, horror (and everything else besides) is where we get the space, the freedom, to really explore these things in a way that exceeds the daily grind, in a way that has the capacity to dig deeper, push harder, shine light into the dark places, and elevate us in ways which many may find it impossible to do otherwise. We can explore the things that scare us, the things that excite us, in a safe space, knowing that we can shut the book if we need to.

I love to write, and I love to read, and the power of the written word has always been something awe-inspiring for me. I feel pretty blessed that occasionally, I get to tell a story that touches someone, makes them laugh, or cry or feel something more than they did before reading it. That’s pretty epic.

authors, Q&A

Isabella Redwood – Q&A time

ebook.InTheEnd.HRToday I have the lovely Isabella Redwood here on my blog, answering a few questions about her writing and upcoming release In the End. I met Isabella over on twitter (you can find her @SophN7) and have been enjoying to get to know her.

Welcome to my blog! Why don’t you give us an elevator pitch on yourself as an author – who is Isabella Redwood? 

I liken myself to a pie chart, not because I like pie, although it is not too shabby. But because if you were to cut me open (please don’t) that is what you would find. I’m a mommy and that is the greatest percentage of who I am. My daughter is my heaven on Earth and inspires me every day. Then there is my creative side, I love to write and as an author it sets me free to live my wildest dreams and face those gigantic fears head on. I am an arts fan, anyone who attempts to walk this pot-holed, creaky path is to be placed on a pedestal and admired in my opinion. The final segment is my Columbo part. I love to discover things, piece things together and lifelong learn. From, puzzles to board games to philosophy, they all encompass who I am and I try to incorporate all the sectors into my storytelling.

Your first release ‘In the End’ is set up for pre-order now, and the days are counting down—what can readers expect from the novel?

Characters that are flawed, real and fighting to stay afloat. As in life, people don’t always do what you want them to do or expect them to do and my main character has been through the wringer. The story is told from her point of view and I hope it will keep you guessing long after you turn the final page.

I know that aside from a second book in the butterfly series, you’re also working on some stand-alone science fiction novels – what common themes might readers find between your books, despite them being written in different genres? 

The butterfly series and my sci fi novel are very different, except with one similarity and they are my female leads. They are both easily underestimated, yet the strongest women I know.

Are there any amazing books that you think have influenced your writing, or, perhaps, authors whose work you’d love yours to sit alongside? 

There are many and I wouldn’t dare to dream of us sharing a shelf as I put them so high up, I would need the BFG to reach them down. (Roald Dahl fan) There are three that I have read at different stages in my life that have stayed with me. The first is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I read this in one sitting, I was so riveted and it haunted me after for some time. The second is The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, I read this book quite early on in life and it was a very unfamiliar genre at that time to me. My mum was a huge romance fan and as such our book shelves were overflowing with them. It was my first dystopian novel and was the best to open with, it certainly set the bar high for future reads. The final book is The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin, this was the first book I read after a traumatic life event and was the first thing to make me smile again. I carried it around in my bag for a considerable amount of time afterwards. My reminder there could be light again.

Finally, just for a little fun: Taking into consideration that it takes certain ways of thinking and seeing the world to love different movies, which five movies best sum you up your personality?

I’m a huge movie fan and as I have a two year old daughter, who is the biggest Disney fan, it is only fitting I pick Disney movies.
Number one is Mary Poppins, I have the carpet bag, not only would you find the world and its wife in my bag, it is also fitting for life as a writer. No matter how many times you may think you have everything you need, looking in the bag, there is always something else to learn and discover.
Number two is Tangled, I have long hair and although I sadly cannot lasso it around to swing from, it is the hippie in me.
Number three is Pocahontas, I’m a huge animal lover and always wanted to be a vet growing up.
Number four is Cinderella, I always worry I have forgotten something, glass slippers, keys, I’m the classic double, triple checker. Even to the point of getting out of bed and going to check I turned the alarm on, despite the fact I know I already did.
Number five- The Little Mermaid, when she first gets legs and tries to stand for the first time, only to fall and keep trying over and over. I resonate that to my publishing journey and the personality traits that we all try to encompass in the literary field.

Thanks so much for having me and please do check out my book launch giveaway over at my blog on isabellaredwood.com.

authors, books, Guest post, January, New Zealand, writing

Introducing: KD Forsman

facebook twitter pic1 colour

As some of you will know, I love it when I have the opportunity to give a shout out to a fellow NZ author, so today, here is a little bit about KD Forsman.

KD Forsman released her debut novel Fraud & Fabrication in early 2015. It is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook format. Fraud & Fabrication is the first of the Leighton Park series, about the wealthy and eccentric Leighton family, their successful horse racing empire and their closely guarded family secrets.

Blogging and freelance copywriting has provided a creative outlet for KD since 2008. When asked why she decided to write a book, she replied…:

“I knew I had to get serious about my writing when I realised the characters in my head were not going to leave me in peace. They’re a bunch of crazies, but they’re my crazies.

A couple of story ideas had been percolating in my imagination for a number of years. In the end I thought it would be interesting to mush them all together and see what I could cook up. The result is Fraud & Fabrication. Seeing this book through to fruition was amazing and even I was surprised at how the ending turned out.

There’s definitely room for a sequel – the problem I have now is deciding which character to focus on, as they are all jostling for the lead! I’d be very interested in hearing from my readers about which character should star in the next instalment.”

KD Forsman was born in the UK and immigrated to middle earth (New Zealand) when she was four, where she still lives today. She has lived in rural locations for most of her life and describes herself as a recovering horse addict, having ridden horses competitively and for recreation for many years. These days, she has swapped her four legged antics for the two legged variety, after completing her first ever half marathon in 2014 with plans to repeat the experience again this year.

KD Forsman had the privilege of being mentored by other published authors and hopes to entertain her readers through the stories she shares.

Fraud & Fabrication:

kdforsman-72dpi-1500x2000Genre; Contemporary drama with a bit of passion & crime thrown in for good measure!

Cassandra has finally landed on her feet when she escapes to a new job after a relationship gone wrong. Leighton Park Stud, located in remote rural Canterbury New Zealand, seems a lifetime away from the hustle and bustle of city living, and that’s exactly what Cass needs to make a new start.

Despite the sometimes confronting experiences of life at the top thoroughbred horse stud and training facility, it’s a job Cass loves and she quickly settles into her new role as Secretary of the Stud.

When the mysterious Geoffrey Leighton, absentee eldest son of her boss John, comes to the rescue of a badly injured filly, Cass realises she’s found her soul mate. It’s not long before she’s engaged to be married into racing’s elite; and she’s happy to overlook some of the wackier sides of life with the wealthy family.

Her loyalty to the Leighton family are put to the test when nasty rumours circulate around the sale of a horse and the investigation that ensues. Add into the mix a closely guarded family scandal, an alcoholic step mum, a terribly accident prone husband and soon Cass is left wondering what normal even looks like anymore.

Cass tries to ignore the warning signs that all is not well in paradise. But heavily pregnant with their first child, her house of cards is starting to crumble. Suddenly she is confronted with a very real and dangerous situation.

Cass has the most difficult decision of her life to make. Will she stay and deal with it? Or walk away and blow the whole ugly truth wide open?

authors, in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, New Zealand, publishing, reading, self publishing

Officially Published!

In The Spirit is now available for purchase. WOO! (You can find links here)

When the email came through from Amazon yesterday afternoon I had one of those goofy ear-to-ear grins. It was displaced after people told me that they still couldn’t get it… but, it’s all done now and people have it on their devices, and one of my old gaming buddies has even read it already!!! AND she enjoyed it and wants more. So, YAY! (Huh, since writing this, I’ve heard from several more people who have read it now too – yay!)

I have more. Lots more. There will be at least another 4 books set in Kotahi Bay – full novels, that is. I may write some more novellas, but we’ll see how we go 😉

Anyway, enough about me! You must be so sick of seeing my cover that I thought I’d share some others with you. A bunch of my writing crew have been publishing work just this week, so here’s a shout-out to them in order of release dates:

Richard Parry brings you his second book, Upgrade:

Mason’s job is simple: company asset protection and acquisition, no questions asked. He’s good at what he does, and it’s given him everything he’s ever wanted. The best looks money can buy, the spacious apartment that only comes with knowing the right people, and top shelf bionics from Apsel Federate. When he meets a lost girl from a dying world, an off-grid rock star, and a slave lord who wants to own them all, he needs to remember what the life he lives has taken away. Lost to corporate interest and the soft line between incentive and crime, Mason is trying to learn what it means to be truly human.

I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my summer reading list. It’s a hefty tome, and going off how much I enjoyed his first book, Night’s Favour, I know I’m gonna love this.

Next up we have Catherine Mede, with her debut novel Cursed Love, a romance set in our lovely New Zealand.

A family curse.
A lifetime of grieving
Jinny Richards past and future are about to collide. Will she survive?
At 18, Virginia ‘Jinny’ Richards was a drug addict who fell in love with Dean Bradford. By 20, Dean was dead. Jinny believes the family curse is to blame, and never wants to fall in love again. She has worked hard to hide her past and now has a job as a successful Insurance Assessor.
Ethan Montgomery lost his wife to breast cancer. He’s mourned for three years and now he’s ready to move on. He understands Jinny’s pain but he wants the feisty Jinnyand nothing, not even a curse, will stand in his way.
When work throws them together, loving Ethan is the farthest thing from Jinny’s mind. He’s tardy and egotistical, even if he is good looking and makes her weak at the knees.
Things get further complicated when Steven Bradford turns out to be the client, bringing up the heartache and pain Jinny has carefully buried for eighteen years.
Will she find love a second time around? Or will the family curse claim another victim?

And that brings us to my release day buddies: T.G. Ayer, releasing the fourth installment, Dead Wrath, of her Valkyrie novels.

Ragnarok is upon the worlds, and the time to fight is now. They come from all of the Nine Realms. Dark Elves, Dragons, Frost Giants, Elves … They all come to fight for Odin.
And they answer to Valkyrie Brynhildr.
While Bryn grieves, struggling to cope with Sigrun’s death, she knows too there is no time for tears. Odin is still a shade of himself and though there is no sign of Loki in all of the Nine Realms – Thor knows he is hiding in Midgard. As the Warriors gather, Bryn must head the offensive and enter the Human Realm in search of the Trickster and his henchman.
The war is silent and it rages all across the planet.
Ragnarok is here …
In this, the 4th thrilling instalment in the Valkyrie series, Bryn takes the war to home turf. From New York to London, Interpol to CIA, Bryn and her team risk their lives to stop Loki. And to prevent the end of the world.
And, last but not least, Michael Wayne Griffith, with his debut novella, The Runaway Train, which introduces the main character from his future series, Selena Montana.
On the verge of leaving Montana to join the FBI, Detective Selena Marrenger is dragged into one last case when a boy vanishes into the creeping fog around a bus station. With her partner, Kathryn, the two embark on a mission to uncover the mystery behind the young boy’s disappearance. When the suspects begin to pile up, the investigators discover a hidden truth far more sinister than they could have imagined.
The clock is ticking. Will Selena find who is responsible before it’s too late?
Right, and that’s me for the morning! Hope you’re having a great December 🙂
authors, reading, writing

Tales to Terrify – the Baby Teeth special

Check it out! If you’re into podcasts or prefer listening to your stories rather than reading them, the special Baby Teeth episode of Tales to Terrify can be found here!

My story ‘The Dead Way’ is the last, and Dan Rabarts calls it ‘terminally creepy’ and worth the wait. So get to it!!! I started listening yesterday, but couldn’t get through my own story. I’m torn between being seriously freaking excited (hearing your story read by someone else elevates it to new levels!!) and finally realizing why other people think it’s creepy!!!!! No wonder I’ve been getting some funny looks 😉 

Go on, have a listen. It’s deliciously creepy. 

 

authors, writing

Work in Progress Blog Challenge – In the Spirit

Yesterday, I was tagged by fellow writer Emma Lindhagen in a Work in Progress blog challenge – thanks Emma! It’s a very simple one: you post the first line from the first three chapters in your current work in progress and then tag four people to do the same. So without further ado, here are the first lines of the first chapter of In the Spirit, the Christmas novella I’m currently editing.

Chapter One
Alyssa shut the front door and slid the bolt across.

Chapter Two
A chill permeated the house, creeping under the blanket to wake her.

Chapter Three
Alyssa could hear birds chirping outside and sunlight glinted through the curtain and off the mirror, right into her eyes.

Haha, waking up. Wonder if I write about it because that’s one of my least favourite parts of the day right now. I don’t think that any of these first lines say a lot about my work, but hey, who knows? This novella will be coming to a digital bookstore near you in early December. I’ll have something a little more interesting to share closer to the date, but not until after I’m finished my final assignments (YES, YES! The end is near!!!). 

So, who am I going to tag? Jeepers. Well….

Leigh K. Hunt, because I know she’s also working on something new – due out in Dec as well! 

M.W. Griffiths, for the same reason. 

I know that T.G. Ayer has a lot she’s working on right now…

And finally, I’ll tag Anthony despite the fact he won’t do it. Because he needs a public reminder that I am STILL waiting for his next book to come out.