authors, NaNoWriMo, writing

FREEDOM!!!!!!!! And other things

So, I’ve just handed in my last assignment for the year and I couldn’t be happier. Okay, MAYBE if you handed me a million dollars, or a six figure publishing contract, then I could be happier, but for now, for today, I’m pretty freaking happy. I’m free (until March).

This last month has been a creative black hole and I’m thrilled to be leaving it behind. With freedom, comes NaNoWriMo, which I’ll be participating in (though probably not winning). You can find me here if we’re not already buddies. I really enjoy the good spirits, word sprints and enthusiasm of writing alongside others, so am looking forward to spending the month writing my little heart out and watching a bunch of other writers achieve their goals and whatnot.

I’m going to be working on book three in the series I’m writing. It’s currently titled ‘By Souldust and Starlight’, and I’m really looking forward to leaping into it. This is the story that sparked the entire series, and it’s going to be MAJORLY fun to write. Let’s hope my characters are ready, because I have not had nearly as much time to plan as I’d have liked!

Other lovely things I’d like to note while we’re here are a couple of book releases that have happened in the last couple days.

First off the block is Heartwood by Freya Robertson, who is a wonderful NZ writer friend. An epic fantasy of truly epic proportions, this is her debut fantasy release, though she’s had a bunch of romance novels published in the last few years. It’s published through Angry Robot, who are awesome, and you should totally check it out! The second book is due out early next year, too, so you won’t have long to wait for a sequel!

And secondly (lastly) an anthology close to my own heart. Even if I didn’t have a story in it (but I do!! The Dead Way, it’s awesome, you should read it) I’d be pimping this one because it’s all in the name of a charity to get kids reading! That’s right, all profits from Baby Teeth go to Duffy Books in Homes, and who doesn’t want to get kids reading?

Also, those are my baby teeth on the cover, and I don’t think I’m ever going to stop being thrilled with my weirdest claim to fame yet. You can say that you know a woman whose teeth are stringed up on a necklace of the cover of a book. I guess that makes this a bit of a fitting post for Halloween after all πŸ˜‰

I’m so happy right now πŸ™‚

Hope you’re all ready to get stuck into November, because October is past it’s prime and I am SO ready to move on! Roll on November 1st!


Baby Teeth

I have always had a soft spot for horror stories. Always. I love to be creeped out, so of course when a writer friend started a group on facebook and suggested we write some stories based on that ’25 creepiest things kids say’ thing that was going around, I had to get in on the action!

And so ‘Baby Teeth’ was born, driven by the incredible Dan Rabarts, with the lovelyΒ Lee Murray jumping in to help with editing, and a bunch of awesome writers offering their stories up for inclusion. The anthology contains 37 stories from 27 authors, and all profits will go to Duffy Books in Homes. I really love contributing to worthy causes, and this is certainly one of them.

My short story is called ‘The Dead Way’, and in part the idea came to me over four years ago when my eldest was just four. We were driving past a street, she asked what it was, I told her it was a dead end, and then she asked, “What’s down a dead way, mummy?” And I had to wonder – what was down a Dead Way?

I could never put my finger on it, until this group formed, and then suddenly I was writing, and the story came out without very much brain power from me. I love it when that happens.

Anyway, the book is coming out in just a couple of months, and a PledgeMe campaign has been set up to raise funds for an initial print run of the book. There are heaps of awesome rewards, alongside the options of getting digital, audio, or print copies of the book – why not check it out? At the time I write this, we’re 64% funded, so go and show some love for horror, and getting kids reading, we’d really appreciate it!



Regeneration – now open for pre-order

As some of you know, I have a new short story (Carving Out a Life) being published in the very near future. Well, pre-orders for Regeneration are now open! And, the stunning cover has finally been unveiled. I LOVE it.

Here is the blurb:

Some things are gone forever; but that is not the end. There are new lives to be lived, new discoveries to be made, changes to be fought for, enjoyed, or feared.

Experience worlds where existence continues beyond death and much-wanted babies become something else entirely. Where humanity endures in hostile environments, societies adapt to new challenges and inventions, and strange creatures live secretly among us. Travel from a curiously altered Second World War to other universes at the end of time, taking in diverse visions of New Zealand and worlds beyond along the way.

Regeneration, the second volume of New Zealand Speculative Fiction from Random Static, presents 22 original works of science fiction and fantasy by Kiwi authors. Stories of loss and renewal, of fantastic technology and mysterious transformations, of supernatural predators and survivors building new futures. Life always goes on, but seldom the way you’d expect…

Featuring stories by Matt Cowens, Tim Jones, Mary Brock Jones, O.J. Cade, Grace Bridges, I.K. Paterson-Harkness, Kylie Thorne, Debbie Cowens, J.C. Hart, Jennifer Compton, Simon Petrie, Anna Smith, Rebecca Harris, Elizabeth Gatens, Jonathan James Todd, A.J. Fitzwater, Fran Atkinson, Anna Caro, Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray, Grant Stone, and Toni Wi.

I’ve read stories by many of the authors listed above, and they are fantastic writers. I’m very excited to read the stories from authors I don’t know. Random Static always put together a good antho.

If you’re in Wellington on the 12th of July, there is a launch party for the book, and I’ll actually be there! Details can be found here.


Regeneration – TOC

Random Static has released the table of contents for ‘Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II’!Β So exciting!!!

From their site:Β 

Random Static Ltd is pleased to announce the table of contents forΒ Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II. Once again, we have a fantastic range of stories by talented authors, and we look forward to sharing them with you.

  • Last Harvest – Matt Cowens
  • Rescuing the Airmen – Tim Jones
  • Hunting Ythan – Mary Brock Jones
  • The Mistress of Fishes – O.J. Cade
  • Max’s Black Box – Grace Bridges
  • In a World Full of Birds – I.K. Paterson-Harkness
  • Insomnia – Kylie Thorne
  • The Spectre Spectrum – Debbie Cowens
  • Carving Out a Life – J.C. Hart
  • Kiwi or Queenie – Jennifer Compton
  • Emptying Roesler – Simon Petrie
  • Tapping the Skin of the World – Anna Smith
  • Doorway – Rebecca Harris
  • Monocarpic Colony Blues – Elizabeth Gatens
  • Harvesting the Gyre – Jonathan James Todd
  • The Origami Tree – A.J. Fitzwater
  • Evacuation – Fran Atkinson
  • Splintering – Anna Caro
  • Mother’s Milk – Dan Rabarts
  • Cave Fever – Lee Murray
  • Coat – Grant Stone
  • Ren – Toni Wi

RegenerationΒ is due to be launched on the 12th of July atΒ Au Contraire 2013Β – watch this space for more details and pre-order information.

Yipee!! I always love seeing my name in a table of contents, but ones like these make me grin more than normal. I love knowing that I’ll be in a book with so many authors I respect and admire. I love that I will get to enjoy some NZ authors I haven’t read before. It’s totally squee-worthy, and gives me a real sense of community. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book and read what I know will be a bunch of awesome stories!

And this time around I get to be at the release!!!!! Woooo!

Anyway, I’ll let you get back to enjoying your weekend πŸ˜‰ I have an essay to finish!


Winning awards

Last night, Tales for Canterbury won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Fiction. Anna was kind enough to post evidence on my facebook page because I was totally surprised!

This anthology taught me so much. It was a huge undertaking that really pushed me out of my writer shell and helped me to build connections with other writers both within New Zealand, and outside of it. Anna was the best co-editor I could ever ask for, and I would totally do it again (though, preferably with a longer deadline! lol).

I’m still a little stunned, and I can’t stop looking at that picture. And grinning.

I’ve said it before on other forms of media, but thanks again to everyone who was involved. And not just those who contributed stories but those who cheered us on and gave us support and encouragement in other ways. This was a team effort, and a total privilege to work on. What began as a way to help Christchurch turned out bigger and better than I ever expected.

Thank you all.


A Nom!

As some of you will know, the nomination period for the Sir Julius Vogel awards closed at the end of last month. Anna recently informed me (and the official list is out now to make it feel even more real) that Tales for Canterbury made it through to the final ballot! How awesome is that!!!!

Not only that, but there is a HUGE representation on the list by fellow members of SpecFicNZ. In fact, every single novel in the ‘Best Novel’ category was written by a SpecFicNZer. How cool is that? I love seeing other authors I know doing well, and it fills me with joy to know that some amazing books are going to get recognized with one of these:

Isn’t it pretty?

Anyways, I knew we’d had an initial nom, but I didn’t expect to make it onto the top five. It feels pretty amazing to see our names there on the list for Best Collected Work.

While I have you here…we’ve still got copies for sale, but only until the middle of the year! So if you haven’t picked yours up, get in while you still can. It’s a great collection, loaded with stories, and I’m sure you’ll find something in it to tickle your fancy.


Are you sorted for Xmas yet?

There are just a few weeks left in the year, which means that there are only weeks remaining to purchase the digital version of Tales for Canterbury. It’s the perfect time to gift one to friends or family for Christmas – and don’t forget that all profits go to the Red Cross to benefit Christchurch.

We also still have some print editions available – we’re on our last run of them though, so get in before it’s too late. There are a lot of fabulous stories in this anthology so pick up a copy, introduce yourself to some new writers and support a great cause.



In the absence of writing…

…I’ve been doing a lot of reading. A LOT. I think three books this week? Maybe four? It’s ridiculous, but absolutely wonderful πŸ™‚ I am really loving being able to wade through books so quickly, and good ones too!

Thanks to Leigh, who put me onto NetGalley, I’ve got access to a whole range of books I might not otherwise be able to get hold of via Kindle. Amazon is wonderful, but there is a bunch of new stuff that is simply not available to those of us in the ‘asia-pacific’ area of the world.

That really doesn’t matter now πŸ™‚ I think I have more books available than I can get through quickly, and there are always more to come. Because of this, I’m going to be doing a lot more reviews though. Ones for the ABC Indie Reading Challenge, as well as those for NetGalley, and any other fabulous books I read along the way.

This isn’t a review blog though. It’s a writing/life blog, and rather than inundate you with countless reviews I decided to start a new blog for that purpose. So if you want to read reviews, then feel free to check it out over here. I’m really enjoying exploring this side of things, and there are some really great books out/coming out that I am looking forward to reviewing in the near future.

I’ve already moved the indie reading page over there, and will be taking it down from here shortly. I imagine there will be 2-3 reviews a week up on my review blog, just as many as I’m reading. I may just be making more work for myself, but I LOVE reading, and I LOVE writing, and they each deserve their own space πŸ™‚

In writing news: as I said in my last post, I took the weekend completely off. It’s a long weekend, so that kind of means today is off too. That said, I’m getting back into work for the Anthology, and will be writing a new update for the Tales for Canterbury website this afternoon. It’s coming along so well! Very exciting times.

Happy Monday! Happy writing! Happy reading, everyone!


Writing, writing, writing

I got up early this morning – okay, to be honest, I’m up before 6am most mornings – but this morning I didn’t get up and launch into work on Tales for Canterbury tasks. I cleared my emails, got breakfast for the little ones and got stuck into some writing. Boy did it feel good! I have missed this. I haven’t written since the quake hit, even though I had the best intentions Friday night, and I feel refreshed and renewed.

Sometimes, you just really need to be putting your own words on the page. As much as I love reading other stories, as passionate and driven as I am about the anthology project, I am still a writer myself. I still need to feed my own creative side.

The influx of emails has thankfully died down a little now. We’ve got loads of work ahead of us, but I’m feeling more balanced. Back in control. It’s a good feeling to have – especially seeing as March is right around the corner and I still need to get back to work on the novella. I don’t think I can wrap Comfort up in the next couple of days, so I intend to keep working on that over the month ahead – plus there is March’s challenge story to write! I do love a good challenge.

It promises to be an exciting, and incredibly busy month. I’m feeling alive and great though, kind of like I can tackle anything. It’s really true that doing something for others has positive effects in every area of your life. Nothing like a disaster to bring people together, to break down barriers, to heighten your sense of community and place.

I’m very proud to be a kiwi. I’m proud of all the amazing things people are doing to help those in Christchurch, and while I wish I could be on the ground, helping out in person, I can be content that in my own way, I’m doing all the things that I can.



I am very much feeling like I’ve worked a full week! lol and I can honestly say it’s a long time since I’ve done that (not that raising three beautiful girls and running the household and trying to write is not time consuming). So I am definitely looking forward to the weekend – not that it’s going to be quiet, but it does mean that at least Hubby is home to help with everything.

I feel like we’ve accomplished so much in just a few short days, and am ready to start slowing down a little bit. The huge task of contacting authors has been achieved with stellar results so far, and now it is on with reading and selecting and planning for all the behind the scenes stuff that goes into putting out a book. And trust me, there is a lot of it!

On that note, we have a website live now for the Anthology and you can check it out over here. There will be a new post up shortly with a very exciting announcement, and hopefully I’ll have a facebook page sorted for it shortly which will be helpful for keeping people in the loop and also for figuring out how many people are interested in getting their hands on a copy. It’s for a great cause!

In all of the rush and bustle of the last few days, my own writing has certainly taken a back seat. But I am admittedly feeling a tad overwhelmed (in good and bad ways), so I’m going to make sure I take some time tonight to touch base with the story I am working on.

The Comfort of Wood is a fantasy story that has been sitting around for awhile now, and it’s well overdue for completion. I’m hoping to finish the second scene tonight, and then keep working on it from there. It’s the only totally new scene, so it will take me a little while. It’ll be nice to get lost in a fantasy world of my own creation though. Free from earthquakes, free from sadness, free from the huge loss that our whole country is feeling.

Anyways, signing off. I feel the need to give my girls some more hugs. My heart aches for all the families affected by the earthquake, but cuddling those girls of mine makes it a little easier to handle.