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:

Burn, Maiden mother crone, publishing, Release day, self publishing, writing

Release day!

Burn Release promo

Burn is now officially available for purchase!

It’s always exciting when a new book hits the shelves. I slept so badly last night though, thinking about potential errors and wondering whether I had made those last minute changes I meant to, or whether they’d been forgotten in the flurry of activity. There is always something forgotten. I’ve never seen an entirely error free MS, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to make it as perfect as I can.

Anyway, I saw the email when I (stupidly!) checked my phone at 330 am this morning. Managed to squeeze in a few more restless hours of sleep before I just HAD to get up and check how it all looked. Gosh. I still love that cover so much. I can’t wait to get my hands on a print version.

I’m trying really hard not to check sales numbers and ranks this time around. I’m this awkward blend of excitement and nerves, and not for the first time, my eldest provided me with words of wisdom in the form of song.

Some people are going to like it, and some aren’t, and that’s fine. I just need to shake it off – dance to the beat of my own drum. I’ll leave you with the song of the day and the knowledge that I’m just going to keep on writing my own stories in my own style. If you do pick up the book, I hope you enjoy it. And if not, don’t worry, I won’t take it personally 😉

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 🙂
in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, self publishing, writing

November wrap up

Over here in New Zealand it’s the 1st of December, which means NaNo month is finished for the year, and we’re on the countdown to 2015. Well, I am. 2014 has been a long, hard year, and I am really looking forward to a 2015 that’s not so intense. I am sure it will be full of hard work and growth, but the fact that I can do it in my own time is going to be a real blessing.

So, how did November go?

In The Spirit E-Cover_SMALL FINAL_18-11-2014I managed to write a little over 23,000 words. I’d wanted more, but was pleased to surpass my goal of 20,000. What I was planning on being a sequel novella to In The Spirit turned into a full blown novel and will slot nicely into place as the 2nd book in the Kotahi Bay series.

I swear, I’ve changed my publishing timetable so many times over the last few months, but I think things are settled now. So many releases, so much editing – so much awesome fun.

Anyway, back to November. While I wasn’t NaNoing, I was inspired by many of those who were, and making my writing more of a focus in November has helped me re-form the habit. My typing speeds are starting to pick back up again, the ideas are coming faster, and I’m spending a lot of time thinking about story again. It’s pretty awesome.

Big thanks to my writer crew on Twitter, and Lee, who sprinted with me most days on Facebook. There were some days where it was only her gentle nudging that got me to start putting words on the page, and that has gone a long way to getting me back to my writing roots. I’m digging this story, and hoping to have the first draft done by the end of the year.

The other thing November helped me with was figuring out what my days can look like. I think I write best in the mornings, and most of our sprints were then – there was the odd day when I couldn’t get to it until later on, and it was infinitely harder to write then. In the mornings I have more energy and my brain seems to be at it’s creative best. So, I’m hoping to shape my new routines around this. Fresh words in the morning. Editing/critiquing/marketing/other stuff in the afternoons and evenings.

Naturally, this all has to fit in around homeschooling the kids and keeping the house under control, but if I manage to do a bit of each on most days of the week, I am going to be pretty happy. My aim is not to make ridiculous goals for myself. Not to work so hard that I feel stressed all the time, and to enjoy ALL of life, not just one element of it.

Hopefully that all pans out 😉

Due to some confusion about when exactly books go live from pre-order, In The Spirit isn’t officially out yet. Hopefully later on, when December hits the USA.

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 and facebooktwitter and pinterest  or email her – she loves to have contact with her fans.

in the spirit, self publishing, writing

A timely reminder

In the lead up to self-publishing my first novella I’m having all the feels. You know, joy, elation, doubt, fear. There is a bit of conflict going on internally around my desire to actually make a career out of my writing, and the desire to hide it away from the world because it’s never going to be good enough *throws forearm over eyes, drama queen styles*. J.C. Hart wants a career, Cassie want to tell everyone not to buy her book, but to wait until she has free days and just get it then. J.C. Hart loves her books and wants to share them with the world, while Cassie loves them but is sure she’s going to be the only one.


I do want this. I just have to get over my lifelong wallflower tendencies.

As someone said to me recently. Hurry up. Your first release is never going to be amazing, nor is it going to change the world, not even your world, get it done, figure out what you can do better and then do it again.

Well, actually, he just said ‘Fail faster’, but that was what I took away from it.

Until I actually get out there and start doing it, I’ve got no real idea of what is going to happen. I have a feeling it might be a little like having a baby – no matter how many books you read about it, or which classes you attend, you can never really be prepared. Things will be different to what you expect. I have really reasonable, low expectations, but there is no way to predict outcomes in this business.

So, I’ll focus on what I can control. Writing great books, editing them until they are the best I can make them, and then getting them out there into the world.