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!

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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: sjv_awards@sffanz.org.nz

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

M is for Melody

Meet Melody. Sister of Jake. Female lead 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, 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.

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

B is for Beach

backbeachHere in New Zealand, we are surrounded by the ocean, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the beach plays a role in my series. Kotahi Bay is a seaside town, and while the beach isn’t a huge part of The Way the Sky Curves, it certainly has a bigger role in Shell and Bone.

I live on the west coast of the North Island, and the beaches here are gorgeous with their black sand, high cliffs and excellent surf. The wind comes in strong at times, and it is never more raw, more vital than when the wind is throwing the tide against the sand and whisking grains against the back of your calves.

Kotahi Bay is also set on the west coast of NZ. It’s an amalgamation of several small towns I’ve known, and my beloved beach, with it’s cliffs and sand dunes, black sand and striking beauty.

I ADORE the beaches around here. They make me feel alive and whole, tiny in the grand scheme, but also connected to the world we live in and my ancestors.

Actually, I just realized that I posted about iron sand for last years A-Z challenge! Check out that post for a few more pictures 🙂

Burn, February, in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves

All the things

There are so many stories running through my head. So many. Not just mine, but all the stories by authors I have been editing recently as well – a huge range: contemporary, thriller, mystery, MG, science fiction. In fact, I’ve taken about a week off from editing in general just to try and dull the clatter in my brain.

BURN_Final E-cover_JC HART
Sick of seeing it yet?? I don’t think I ever will be!

Well, editing other than my own, anyway.

Final edits on Burn are now complete and the MS is off with the proofreader. I’m both nervous and excited to bring it to the world – as pure fantasy, it’s quite different to In The Spirit. There is none of the lightness and laughter that my first release had. The characters are completely different, and where Alyssa is young, a bit of a slob and maybe a tad too fond of wine, Carmel is old and weary, and never had any kind of freedom or joy in her youth. I worry that readers of one won’t like the other, but then I have to remind myself that books are allowed to have different readers, and I can trust people to read blurbs and samples if they aren’t sure. It’s not my job to stress out about it, only my job to make sure I’m telling the best stories I can – regardless of the genre.

I’ve headed straight into what will hopefully be my last major revisions on The Way The Sky Curves. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve just loaded Shell and Bone onto my Kindle so I can start reading through and making notes. I can’t believe I am THREE books deep in this series already, with just two left to write. It’s actually kind of bizarre. I’m going to be starting planning on the last two very soon – I know how it’s all going to end though!!! I’ve never seen that end picture until recently and I can’t wait to write it!

Alongside all of this are thoughts of the other book I want to publish this year. Sun-Touched is one of my favourites, and will be the first full length novel I bring out. It’s different again from the world of Kotahi Bay, and Burn. Science fiction set on a relatively newly colonized planet. I am itching to get back to Madea and do my final edits on that book. Oh, it’s going to be so good!

So, there are all the things going on right now. I’m going to need to find some new tactics for keeping the noise in my head under control. Maybe not editing four books back to back is a good idea, just for starters 😉

How is Feb treating you?

Burn, in the spirit, January, Kotahi Bay, publishing, round-up, The Way the Sky Curves, writing

January round-up

It’s February!!!!! A whole month of 2015 has already passed us by, and wow, it was a busy one. I’m thinking if I can keep January as ‘busiest month of the year’ that would be nice, and if I can manage even half the productivity, this year is going to be awesome.

A quick break down of how I spent my time:

Edited: 3 novels and one novella.
Critiqued: 2 novels and one MA book.
My stuff: finished the 1st draft of a novel, plotted out the rest of the Kotahi Bay series, edited Burn, began final edits on The Way the Sky Curves.
Read: 9 books on GR and a couple more besides. NINE!!!!!!!! And I only set my goal at 40 for the year.

On top of that we still had home school trips, catching up with old school friends, lots of swimming and exploration, lots of fun times with the kids. January was a really busy month, but it was completely awesome as well. I’m not interested in being *quite* that busy again for a couple of months, but it feels amazing to have started out the year so well.

I also made a few tweaks to my site the other day, changing the Books tab around so that there are pages for each current series, as well as adding an In Progress page at someones request – apparently, he couldn’t keep track of what went where and how they connected! Sorry if I confused anyone else. I want to do a complete overhaul of the website, but that might have to wait until I move to a self hosted one – if you have any suggestions, or things you’d like to see on my site, please feel free to let me know 🙂

Oh, and I found out yesterday that In The Spirit was nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel award for Best Novella! Thank you, kind reader! That was really lovely. I may not make the final ballot, but it was pretty awesome to get that email. While I’ve co-won an SJV before for editing an anthology, this is my very first nomination for something I wrote, which makes it pretty special.

So, what does February hold??

Oh so many things!

BURN_Final E-cover_JC HARTFirstly, releasing Burn. Gosh I can’t wait!! I don’t have a release date yet, as I’m waiting to get it back from proofers, and need to go over it again myself before I can set that. But it will definitely be February.

I’m looking into doing a limited print edition of Burn because I’ve had a few requests. I’ll also look at doing a small run for In The Spirit for the same reason. It would be kind of nice to have a copy of my own too, just for giggles – I’ll blog about it before I go ahead just in case anyone wants to order a copy.

I’m hoping to get through this final big edit of The Way The Sky Curves and have that ready for a final reader by the end of the month. It should only need a few tweaks, copy-editing and then proofing before it’s ready. I was worried before I dove in a few days ago, sure that it was going to need a lot more work, but it’s a great story! I’m going to become a broken record ‘I love my WiP so much!’ lol, I seem to say the same thing for every WiP.

I’ve got a few editing jobs lined up as well, and plan on doing a lot more reading. It’s the first February in a long time that I’ve not been gearing up for study, which is a bit weird, but also wonderful.

I hope January and 2015 in general is treating you kindly – here’s to an awesome February!