Best Novella, books, Burn, change, Fantasy, friends, Kotahi Bay, Maiden mother crone, short story, Sir Julius Vogel Award, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves

Long time no blog

Hey there! I know, I know, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. Not because I’ve been doing nothing, but because life has been so busy lately. I mean, really busy. We’ve been away several weekends, a wedding, a homeschool camp, we’ve been down with colds for almost two weeks now, and there has been SO much going on. I can’t talk about some of it right now, so you will just have to take my word for it.

Basically, the past month or so has seen a massive shift in where my wee family is headed, and that’s been scary, sad, and exciting all at once. We’ve got what feels like a gazillion balls in the air right now, and I’m as okay with that as I can be 🙂 Doing a lot better than I had expected anyway.

Sadly, this has meant not as much writing as I’d have liked. Stress does that to me. I can anxious and can’t think creatively. It’s coming back to me now, though. I’m a bundle of ideas and am looking forward to putting some of them on paper in the next few weeks.

But first, I have to make it through the weekend! Au Contraire is coming up fast, and I am both nervous and excited about it. I am really looking forward to seeing people I don’t see nearly enough, hanging out amongst other like-minded people, talking geeky writerly stuff, and enjoying a great selection of panels and discussions. And I am nervous as fuck about convening a panel myself! On mythology, with some AMAZING authors, one of whom I’ve been a fan of for a very long time now – Juliet Marillier. I’m going to get to meet her! And then ask her questions! And omg!! How am I going to be able to speak? I just have to try not to stutter through the whole thing somehow…

I’ll also be at the At the Edge book launch directly before the mythology panel – my short story ‘Hope Lies North’ appears in it, and I am super excited to get my hands on a copy – and at the SJV’s on Sunday night as well, where all my books are finalists. I have zero expectations of winning an award myself, but I’m thrilled to be able to be there and cheer on some friends who I am sure will be picking up trophies! Fun times ahead. I am very much looking forward to heading to Wellington for a weekend that should include most of my favourite things (that aren’t my husband and kids, but I guess you can’t have everything right?).

I shall endeavour to update on a more regular basis, and hopefully soon I will have something fun to announce.

Take care!

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.


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.

becoming, books, Burn, editing, etherhart press, Fantasy, January, Kotahi Bay, Maiden mother crone, Uncategorized, year ahead

2016 Begins

The new year is here! While I was feeling incredibly excited about it toward the end of last year, now that it’s here, I am tired. I worked my butt off in the last days of 2015 and the first days of 2016, and now have a cold.

This is NOT going to be a ‘start the year how you mean to continue it’ year. But it does give me opportunities to practice one of this year’s goals, which is to be kinder to myself. I spent most of yesterday lying in bed, resting, and hopefully, soon I will be back to 100%.

20160104_090019Following on from last years goals, I thought I’d do something similar – nothing too specific, but goals that will get me moving in the right direction. I DO have some definites I want to tick off, but for now, I just want to paint them in broad strokes, which is another act of kindness for myself – much harder to be self-critical that way.

So, kindness. I am giving myself a heart sticker for the days when I am kind to me, whether those are small or large kindnesses. I’m also going to keep track of the days I write with stars. I fell badly out of the habit of actually writing last year, and I’m going to work on reinstating that habit in 2016 using this monthly planner thingamie. Yay!

20160104_090104I’m also going to work through my current bookshelves – both print and digital. Now that I have a bookshelf I’ve realized there are a bunch of books on there I haven’t read. Things I’ve picked up from the withdrawn section of the library, things passed along from others, things I purchased super cheap years ago and never got around to reading. I imagine there are a bunch of books I don’t even like on my shelves, so it’s time for a clear out.

PhotoGrid_1451853786930Speaking of books I’ve been given, my mother-in-law gave me Wonderbook for my birthday last year and I intend to work my way through it over the year.

In terms of publishing goals, my main focus right now is finishing the Maiden, Mother, Crone series. I’ve decided not to publish the second and third books individually, and am going to release a very pretty print omnibus once it’s all edited and ready to go. Aside from that, I’m looking to publish another two Kotahi Bay books – and anything else is icing on the cake 😉

becoming, books, Burn, challenges, change, editing, etherhart press, Fantasy, Goodreads, new zealand independent book festival, NZIBF, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves, Uncategorized

2015 Year in Review

2015 has been a massive year of ups and downs for me – mostly downs, but I think that’s changing. Despite that, I think I did pretty well with my goals for the year.

While I haven’t yet reached my ‘books read’ goal for the year, I’m pretty close, and I *think* I read more published stuff than pre-published. I did do a reasonable amount of editing work, but it was primarily for cash, and that was a nice change. After much consideration, I have decided to cut back even further on the number of clients I’ll work with in order to really give my own writing time to shine. While I love having some cash I made all on my own, and it’s meant I could cover all my costs without digging into the family income, I’ve come to realize that it’s sapping my creative energy, and that’s not good for my writing (or my mental health).

IMG_20151223_145519638I think this year has gone a long way to the ‘reconnecting with myself’ goal. It’s quite intangible, but I think people can look at me now and SEE that I am more comfortable in myself now. I got my nose re-pierced, and I dyed my hair awesome colours. The general consensus is that I should have done it years ago, and I look more’me’. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks so 😉 Though to be honest, it wouldn’t really matter if they thought that anyway – I did it for ME.

I did some other things that were a little outside my comfort zone, such as attending the Independent Book Festival in Auckland. I had a much better time than I expected, and learned that actually, I can totally be a people person when I need to be – AND enjoy it! (even if I need, like, a week off life after to recover lol).

Alongside these things I published three new pieces. Two novellas, and my first full-length novel. Sun Touched has been a long time in the making, and it’s been amazing to get it out there and have people read it. The most common thing I hear from readers is that they could barely put it down, and just had to keep reading – mission accomplished! Dad doesn’t always enjoy my stories, but he loved Sun Touched, and gave it to a friend of his to read while she recovered from a hip operation – and she is going to try and get it in at the library near her! lol

I have LOTS of hopes for 2016, but primary among those are to treat myself more kindly, give my writing the time it needs, and continue to build on the things I started this year. More on that in the new year – until then, enjoy the last of 2015, hope you had a lovely Christmas, and have a happy New Year.

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:

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, Fantasy, Kotahi Bay, publishing, The Way the Sky Curves

D is for Demigods

One of the things I’ve kept fairly close to my chest about Kotahi Bay is that it is home to several children of gods. Maori gods, that is. In fact, one of each pair of main characters in each book is a demigod – though some of them don’t know they are, others have known for either most of their lifetime, or at least a good chunk of it.

This creates some interesting tension as various characters get used to this new knowledge, or find out what the point of their abilities is, and how they can interact to resolve the larger problems of their community. It’s been really neat for me to delve into my Maori heritage a little, and re-imagine how our world might operate.

Burn, cover reveal, Fantasy, publishing, release

Burn – Cover Reveal

So, next month I’m releasing my second novella!

Burn was originally written a few years ago for a specific market, but due to assignment stress I somehow managed to submit my assignment instead of the novella (thankfully, I ALSO submitted my assignment to my lecturer lol)… It is my grandest stuff up as a writer to date. It gutted me at the time, though I can definitely see the humour in it now 😉

Anyway, it’s a story I love, and I’m super excited to get it out into the world. I know some will say it’s a strange move to publish something so different to my first release, but I love writing in a range of genres, and I want my books to reflect that.

BURN_Final E-cover_JC HART

No parent should outlive their children.  But what if you do?  What if your son’s dying wish is to be burnt in the manner of his people — a people he was taken from as a child?  

Carmel must gather her orphaned grandson and her son’s corpse, and ease her aching bones into the long walk that takes her where she needs to be.  The footsteps of the past nag at her heels as she journeys to once again look upon the face of the Goddess.