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 decisionĀ 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.

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A-Z challenge, Characters, gods, Kotahi Bay

U for Under the waves

Continuing on the theme of gods, another is Tangaroa – god of the sea.

I’ve already covered how much I love the beach, and so it was a given that one of my characters would be the child of Tangaroa. She is changeable, like the ocean, dangerous when you don’t know her, but calm and beautiful under the right conditions. She loves the sea more than anything and will do whatever it takes to protect it. I guess you could say that she’s a bit of an eco-warrior in her own way, though you might not agree with her methods šŸ˜‰

A chunk of Shell and Bone is set under water, which was really cool to write. I can’t wait to begin editing this book! It’s out with an editor at the moment, and I’m hoping to have it available for purchase in August.

A-Z challenge, Characters, Kotahi Bay

S is for Samantha

SamanthaWe’re back in Kotahi today after a little deviation from the plan yesterday! And you’re about to meet one of the other long standing residents of the Bay. Samantha is the only character who is made mention of in every single book planned to date.Ā I don’t think she is mentioned by name in In The Spirit, but the shop where Alyssa takes her grandmothers belongings to sell off is Sam’s.

She is probably the most calm and together local that you’ll meet. Always there for wise words and advice. Supportive, encouraging, helpful, kind. I adore Samantha, and I think she embodies many of the qualities I like to think I have myself. That said, she’s a lot more together than I am šŸ˜‰ At least, at the beginning of the series!

While Sam plays a secondary role in the majority of the books, the final book of the series is all about her. I have her story firmly entrenched in my mind and am looking forward to writing it in the near future.

A-Z challenge, Characters, Kotahi Bay

N is for Noah

NOahYesterday we met Melody, and today it’s time for Noah’s turn – he’s the male lead and love interest in The Way the Sky Curves. Noah moved to the Bay a couple of years back and settled in as the local tattoo artist where he took a wayward Jake under his wing, and found his place in the town. He’s not always been the best of men, but he’s worked hard to get to where he is, and he’s happy. As far as he can tell, he’s got everything he needs.

And then he meets Melody.

He scanned the bus, his eyes latching onto a pretty young thing with dark blonde hair about halfway back. The seat beside her was empty, her crossed arms and restless green eyes no doubt deterring anyone from sitting there. Anyone but him. He made his way down the aisle and carefully slotted his duffle bag into the overhead storage; his load was fragile, but perhaps not as volatile as the girl now sitting beneath it.

Noah is one of the good guys, and I love him to bits. He could be likened to Jason Momoa, though his skin is a bit darker from his Maori heritage.

A-Z challenge, Characters, Kotahi Bay, The Way the Sky Curves

M is for Melody

Meet Melody. Sister of Jake. Female leadĀ of The Way the Sky Curves. This picture was howMelody I imagined her when I first started writing, though she has morphed a bit and changed along the way. When I first found her, she was reminiscing about her home and the way it made her feel, she was a little lost, a little broken. A little sharp at times – which is all exacerbated when she returns home to the Bay.

The wind used to love me. It used to twist its fingers through my hair and kiss my cheek. It used to wrap around my body and respond to my whims. But here in this city, within the confines of this barren concrete cage, I cannot hear it sing.

Melody is… Well, I think you’re either going to love her, or you’re not. I feel quite protective of her, which is funny considering she’s a character in my head and not even out in the world yet, but she had a rough start and I feel for her. I hope you love her, because we all deserve a little love, a second chance, the opportunity to do better and learn from our mistakes. And Melody has made plenty of them. But she’s trying. Really, she is.

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.

A-Z challenge, books, Characters, Kotahi Bay

J is for Jake

JakeOne of our lifetime residents of the Bay is Jake. He is the little brother of Melody (main character in The Way the Sky Curves), but becomes the secondary main character (and love interest) in the second book in the series (Shell & Bone). Confused yet? I hope not!

Jake is… well. He’s awesome. He’s a little bit like my younger brother in some ways – wiser than he should be for his years, knows when to pry and when to leave well alone. Not afraid to call people out on their crap. I think just about all my original beta readers swooned over him which helped me make the decision to bump him up to a more prominent position in the second book – and let me tell you, Moana is more than his match! He might look a little unconventional, but he’s a good guy, if a little confused about his place in the world.

I hope you’ll love him as much as I do and can’t wait for you to meet him in the Kotahi Bay series.