2018, butcherbird, july, New Zealand, Te Papa Tupu

Office in a Bag

Sometimes, you just have to upgrade. I feel like I’ve been doing that a lot lately – I got some new clothes for the first time in ages. I got a haircut for the first time in almost year. A drink bottle that was mine and not a tomato passata jar I’d washed out.

And I got a new computer.

Now, I loved Mal, but it was just time. She’s slowed right down to the point where I spend more time being frustrated than working painlessly. There were other niggles in the household; a constant tech battle over who had access to what and where. I decided that I deserved to have a computer that could not only run the full gamut of author processes, but also run the games I like to play. And it would be mine. All mine. No sharing.

Enter Indi. Yes, partly because of her delicious colour, but also because it makes me think of ‘independent’ and I am, and also, India Jones, and who doesn’t want to be reminded of adventuring, action and excitement? I’m bringing that to my writing in my own way.

Indi is a little bigger than Mal was, which meant upgrading my bag as well.  I needed something that could fit all the things I needed. Something that calls to my geeky side, but that’s also not too in your face. With Te Papa Tupu I’ve got a lot more travel lined up than ever before, so it needed to be sturdy as well. I got the Horizon: Zero Dawn messenger bag, and I love it.

20180721_115023So here is my office in a bag! This is my ‘work for hours at a time while out’ set up and it’s all the same stuff I use at home, which makes for a nice easy transition. I’ve got a space-saving set up too, but we’ll leave that for another time. I think having the backing of Te Papa Tupu has given me that little boost that says it’s okay to spend money on things that will help push my career forward. A little validation can go a long way in this business.

Mostly, I just wanted to gush about how freaking much I love my new computer 😉

Shiny!

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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, ANZAC, New Zealand

V is for View

Yesterday was the 100th ANZAC day commemorating all Australian and New Zealand troops who have served overseas. I do my best to get to a service, whether it’s dawn or a little later as I’ve known many men and women who’ve served overseas, but primarily because it’s the day of the year I most associate with my Grandfather, who died 14 years ago. He served in the second world war before coming home and starting his family. They played taps at his funeral, and I can remember all the servicemen standing, and crying so hard it hurt. I can’t hear taps without welling up, so I am always a bit of a mess at ANZAC services.

Anyway, this year we were away camping with our homeschool group, out in the middle of nowhere. My brothers family and I tossed around the idea of driving back into civilization for the service, but then we decided to have our own. Commemorate in a way I know Grandad would have respected.

There is a massive hill at this camp ground, and in the pre-dawn chill, my brother, sister-in-law, nephews and two of my daughters** tramped up to the top with a lantern to shed a little light on the way. We stood at the peak of the hill and watched light bathe the hills and valleys, we watched the mist rising, we listened as that moment came when there was enough sun to spark life into the land and the birds began to chirp and the sheep to baa. It was majestic.

Often the service ends with planes passing over the memorial. Well, we had a flock of birds pass by, creating a natural end to our commemoration.

And so today I give you my view on ANZAC morning. The photos don’t do it justice, but I have the memory firmly in mind.

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*the third would have come but she’d spent the night in another families tent and I didn’t want to wake anyone up.

A-Z challenge, books, Kotahi Bay, New Zealand

E is for Edgy

The characters that populate Kotahi Bay are a mixed bunch, from all walks of life. They have their unique quirks and traits, and as much as I hate buzz-words, I think that the stories contained within the series probably fall into the realm of ‘edgy’.

What do I mean by edgy? Well, the characters are all definitely adults. There is swearing, and drinking, and sex. There is violence, and unsavory characters. There are a range of topics touched on, such as historic family abuse, murder, addiction, obsession, confusion over your place in the world etc etc. Some of my characters do some pretty vicious things, though for very good reasons. Moana in particular is one scary lady, but I love her. I love all of them, really.

Each book has a slightly different feel to it, which I hope embodies some of the essence of the gods and magics they involve. Some of them are darker than others, some are lighter. But, I hope you enjoy them all!

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 🙂
Guest post, New Zealand, self publishing, writing

Writing a Book set in New Zealand

As a proud kiwi author, I love having the opportunity to share the space on my blog with other local writers. Today, Catherine Mede is stopping by to talk a bit about writing a book set in New Zealand. Her debut novel, Cursed Love, is releasing on the 30th of November, so we’re almost release day buddies! I’ve known Catherine for years now, and it’s really exciting that we’re getting to this point in our writing lives at the same time. Not only that, but we’re both releasing work set in our beautiful Aotearoa.

So without further ado… I’ll hand pass you over into Catherine’s capable hands.

Writing a Book set in New Zealand.

Writing a book based in New Zealand is considered by most to be a suicide mission.  Comments like ‘nobody will read a book set in NZ,’ have often been said to me, however I have watched from the side lines, with interest, a New Zealand author who has had some success with a series of romances set in Wellington.

It has often been reported that if you want a book to be popular, you must set it in the United States, because that is where the majority of the readers are and they only read books set in the US.

I beg to differ.

Readers come from all over the world, not just the United States.  What about England, Europe, Asia?  Surely they have readers too.

Recent articles have reported that the majority of readers, especially of romance, are looking for books that are set in exotic locations, and to some, New Zealand is exotic.  How can it not be, with all the natural native bush, the clear blue lakes, the active volcano’s and the tropical weather (well, maybe in the winterless North.)  More and more readers are picking up books set in New Zealand, Australia and even the islands as a means to escape reality, and enjoy a moment in a bright clean atmosphere.

When I first started writing Cursed Love, I wanted to set it in Nelson, because that is where I worked as an insurance assessor.  The setting of the office is pretty much where I worked, although the name has been changed, along with the brokerage – authors are allowed some poetic licence.  Nelson is a place that is close to my heart, having lived there for many years.  I know the places that my characters visit, or attend.  The view overlooking Nelson harbour, although the office set on the port is ficitious, because you are no longer allowed on the wharf unless you work for the Port Authorities, but my father used to work in a watchtower that had a great view over the chip tower and Roll-on Roll-off ferry berth.  The office block and the ferry berth no longer exist, both being removed some years ago.

Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman National Park are also favourite places I go and I have ideas for books that are yet to be written, to be set in these beautiful places.

Nelson as the setting for a romance seems a little out there, but romance happens everywhere, not just in Wellington or Auckland.  Small towns have opportunities to have love too, and with having the Maori aspect to my story, adds to the reading experience, while educating the reader a little bit about the vast and rich history of New Zealand.  We might be a small country, but our history is still relatively new.  We only have two hundred plus years, while cities in the US have three to four hundred years of history, compared to thousands of years in the UK, Europe and Asia.

I think New Zealand has a lot to offer as a setting for stories.  There are the All Blacks, the setting for a book written by an American author (Just this Once by Rosalind James), Wellington and its vistas over the harbour (Wicked in Wellington series by Kris Pearson), the rich history of the early settlers (The Runaway Settlers and A Canoe in the Mist by Elsie Locke), marble mountain caves (Maurice Gee’s The Halfmen of O series).

Maori culture has a lot to offer the story world too.  It has a beautiful language, and a unique perspective on the world, where they don’t actually own the land, but protect it for the future generations.  The more I read and understand the Maori culture, the more I understand their opposition to a lot of the local bylaws and laws that the Government have made and still continue to make.

But this isn’t a political rant.

I love New Zealand, I love what it has to offer, and I can think of no better way of showcasing its beauty and naturalness than by using it as a background for my stories.

Who is Catherine Mede?

Catherine Mede lives in a rural village in the South Island of New Zealand with her husband, son and two cats.  She works when she can, doing whatever is available – within reason!  When not writing, Catherine likes to read, draw and work in her garden.

Having developed a love for writing when she was at High School, it wasn’t until she was in her thirties she decided to really get down and dirty with the words in her head.

Romance and Speculative Fiction are what Catherine likes to write about because she understands the need to get lost in a love that sometimes seems mythical.  And adding Fantasy elements just fulfills her needs to be creative fanciful worlds.

When she was younger, she wrote to escape reality, now she writes it to allow others to enter a world where love has a happily ever after.

Catherine has a short story published in a Masters of Horror Anthology and attends writing seminars and groups in her area.

When she is rich and famous, Catherine intends to have a large library which will double as her writing space and own an Aston Martin Vanquish.  (Dreams are Free)

You can contact Catherine Mede through her website www.catherinemede.com and facebooktwitter and pinterest  or email her catherine@catherinemede.com – she loves to have contact with her fans.