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Long time, no blog

After I tweaked my website a few months back the blog kind of disappeared and I bought into that whole ‘blogging is dead’ thing. But I kept thinking about it, and the thoughts niggled in the back of my mind.

I have no idea if you missed me or not, but I missed this, so I’m back!

I’d like to tell you lots of wonderful news, but I don’t have any. I’d love to say I’ve been crazy-busy getting my next book ready for you, but I can’t even say that either. Life has been full and busy but it’s not leaving me with a lot of space for writing. This space seems to get increasingly small the closer we get to LexiCon.

lexicon

For those that might not know (because I haven’t been talking about it a whole lot on here) I’m the co-chair of this year’s National Science Fiction and Fantasy convention – and it’s happening in just a few weeks now! OMG I have convention packs to make, and a million things to organize, including many things to feel pre-emptively anxious about, such as pronouncing things correctly, speaking in front of a hundred and fifty or so people (insert pukey face here), and meeting best-selling, award-winning author Seanan McGuire (I keep trying to tell myself she’s just a person, but she’s an incredibly COOL person and I’m bound to say stupid things or be incoherent due to the aforementioned stress and panic).

I’m so grateful that we have some awesome people on our ConCom to make the task less daunting, most of us had very little experience going in but *knocks on wood* it all seems to be coming together quite nicely. Fifteen days til I head to Taupo…

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End of April, start of May – stars for writing, hearts for not being awful to myself

Just so you don’t think I’ve been completely flakey, I HAVE been doing some work. It’s just that the amount of said work is shrinking.

I had really high hopes of getting the nearly final draft of Kotahi Bay #2 done before Convention, but I want to produce quality and with my brain the way it is right now I just can’t guarantee it.

Here is photographic evidence (of the work, not my mushy brain).

 

life

Juggling

Most days I wear many hats – mother, wife, teacher, writer, editor, student, crit partner, house cleaner. The list could go on, but I think you get the point.

On the majority of days I get quite a kick out of juggling so many things. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than making a plan and having it all unfold beautifully, although I’m also quite fond of the days where things don’t go to plan and I have to make back up plans on the fly to fit everything in. That can be incredibly satisfying.

But there are so many variables in my life that some days even trying to formulate a plan to begin with feels like a joke, and I have to laugh hysterically at my attempts to control the chaos. Depending on my mood, which is pretty variable in itself, I crave or cower from that chaos. Some days, I drop a ball. Some days they are all over the place, flying wildly, my limbs tangling as I try to keep everything in the air. And other days I drop them all.

And that’s okay. That’s really just life. As long as the next day I can get back up, pick up even one of those balls I’m trying to juggle and toss it back up, well then I’m doing just fine 🙂

writing

E for Exploration

One of the things I love most about being a writer is the endless possibilities it presents – not only to explore our inner selves but also the opportunity it gives us to explore the unknown, the fantastical, the magical, the untouchable.

All writers have heard the old saying ‘write what you know’, and while I think this is good advice to newer writers, I also think it can be taken too literally. I mean, we all know what it is to yearn for something – a person, a job, a toy. Most of  us have experienced love, shame, anger, we’re all human (at least I assume you are if you’re reading this – hello to any super intelligent animals and alien beings!). We can extend that range of human emotions to imagine ourselves in almost any position; and this is what it means to me to write what I know.

Because, quite frankly, I’m far more interested in writing about places and happenings that I don’t know, than ones that I do. Putting all those human emotions to the test in situations I’ll never encounter really appeals.

Part of the beauty of writing speculative fiction is that you can ask any question, broach any topic and explore any world you could possibly imagine – and the flipside is that there are writers who can imagine worlds you can’t, and you then get to explore those in your reading. Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Exploration and escapism go hand in hand for me, both as a writer and a reader. Always has, always will.

life

Allons-y!

doctor whoWell, April is here and with it a month of challenges. This post (A for Allons-y) kicks off the first day of the A-Z blogging challenge, and Camp NaNo also begins today.

Right now I feel vastly unprepared for both, but that’s okay. It will be a rollicking month and we’ll take each day as it comes. I’m down with that.

So, why Allons-y? Well, it starts with A… and, it means ‘Lets go!’ which felt like a great sentiment with which to start the month. But also, because I’m a massive Doctor Who fangirl, even though I came late to it.

In fact, I fell in love with the Doctor in Season 5, when I was up in the wee hours of the morning, feeding my newborn baby. The seasons always come later here in NZ (or at least, back then they used to), so it was fairly early on in Matt Smiths’ time as The Doctor. I was instantly hooked, and set it up to record the series so that any time I was awake in the night the Doctor could keep me company.

It was my thing, my special show. Back then Hubby wasn’t interested in watching it, so once Natalie started sleeping better, and I no longer had that span of time in the night to watch I would take Doctor Who nights as my down time, the kids in bed, Hubby on his PC, and me on the couch in peace, escaping the real world for an hour.

I loved having it to myself, but I also love that now I get to share it. Having watched 7+ series with my husband, and lots of specials with my girls, I can see it’s becoming a family thing. And I couldn’t be happier about it 🙂

writing

Here we go again…

As if agreeing to one month of blogging wasn’t enough of a challenge (one I’ve actually been doing pretty good with!), I’ve just signed up for yet another – the Blogging from A-Z Challenge (there is still time to sign up if you’re interested!).

I’m going to be participating alongside some of my writing buddies. So far Freya, Meryl and Emma have signed up, and I suspect there will be a few more who will join in too.

April is set to be a busy month! Camp NaNo, blogging challenge, and prep for my first two assignments. Feeling quite inspired and hyped for it actually – let’s hope that feeling lasts 😉

authors, writing

Do you Facebook?

Part of my journey as an author has been about trying to establish a presence in social media. It seems as though most people have a social media favourite, and I’ll happily admit that mine is Twitter. That said, I really like Facebook as a means to keep track of pages – it’s nice to click on to something I like and see what’s been going on, and interact with other people who like that page too. I’ve made some cool friends this way, and I finally feel like I’ve got a handle on having my own Facebook author page.
At the moment you’ll find my blog posts* and tweets posted there, and I’ll be using it as a place to connect with readers, and post snippets and giveaways in the future, so if you’re interested, hop on over and give me a like?
That would rock 🙂
*It amuses me greatly to think that if you already ‘like’ my page you’ll see this blog post about my facebook page on my facebook page…
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SpecFicNZ Best Blogger 2012

I got a lovely email last night from the folks over at SpecFicNZ to officially notify me that I’d been awarded the ‘best blog post’ title for 2012.

I believe there is a lovely prize being sent out, along with this spiffy badge. I’m pretty chuffed about it 🙂 The winning entry was ‘The Perks of Writing in NZ’.

 

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Oh that familiar siren song of a shiny new idea…

Okay, maybe not a NEW idea, because Saving Tomorrow has been around and in the works for probably two years now. I started writing it once (beginning of last year? all the months are blurring together), but it never sat right and I struggled with several aspects of the story, including the fact that unwittingly I’d created something kind of abhorrent and which could easily be taken the wrong way. So it’s been back on the drawing board indefinitely.

Until now. I’ve been reading some books, different to my normal reads, and I think I know what I want to do with it. The issues I had haven’t been resolved, but I’ve pushed a few thoughts around and realized what it needs, and how I need to write it in order to make it sit right for me. It still has kinks to work out, big time, but I know I can resolve those, and now that I’m kind of a planner, everything (well mostly) will be laid out in advance and I will know that I have a story that works before I kick start draft one, again.

I’m really excited about this again, folks, but there is so much to do before I can get started on it! Burn still needs it’s final round before I kick it out the door, and then there is Sun-Touched to revise. I adore that novel and I want to make it shine and find a home for it. And then, after that (and the novella in between that I am trying hard not to think about!) it will be time for Saving Tomorrow. I figure I have a good six months to nail the plot down and smooth out the many rough edges. But still, six months is a very long time.

Damn that whole ‘finishing’ thing I’m trying to work on. Truth is, I’m never going to get anything published if I don’t knuckle down and finish what I’ve started though, so I guess it’s onwards with these revisions!

What’s tempting you right now? Anyone with a new shiny?

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The Perks of Writing in NZ

I used to think that NZ was the worst place in the world to be a writer. I remember looking around for places to submit when I thought I’d finished my first novel (Ha! It was so not good enough!) and finding that I could count the number of agents on one hand, and none of them represented fantasy. There were very few publishers to submit to directly and at that point in time it felt pretty much like all the ‘good’ kiwi authors were living in Australia. Or further afield than that.

By this point in my writing career I’d been a member at Kiwiwriters for several years, but I was trying really hard to move from just writing, to getting something published, and when Ripley asked if anyone was interested in creating an organization for NZ speculative fiction writers, my hand was one of the first raised and I had the pleasure of jumping into the Core of SpecFicNZ.

In the years since then, I’ve come to realize that there are a fair few perks to being a writer in a small country. For instance, when you get involved in the writing community you can get to know a huge range of really talented writers. It’s pretty inspiring to learn of all the exciting things that they are up to (a good way to keep track of this is via the SpecFicNZ site which often posts news of what it’s members are doing).

Because we are small, it means that when competitions are open (of which SpecFicNZ runs many throughout the year, as well as other venues), there is a better chance of getting feedback from judges, or in fact of placing/getting published.

One of the highlights of my small writing career was being published alongside one of my all time favourite authors, Juliet Marillier, in the Foreign Country anthology put out by Random Static. It was something I never even imagined could happen (and then it happened again in Tales for Canterbury!). In fact, there are so many wonderful, published authors in New Zealand, and through getting involved in the community, I’ve actually got to know some of them. And I don’t feel like that could have happened in a bigger country.

I even think that our success in putting together Tales for Canterbury was in part because we are small. There was very much a sense of people wanting to pitch in and take part because everyone knows someone in Christchurch. Many people have lived there, or have had personal experiences of the city and region. I love this reach out and help mindset that kiwi’s have, and I appreciate it now more than ever.

This is a great country, one rich with creatives who are friendly and open to ideas. Sometimes it can feel as though we’re writing in isolation, with New Zealand being so small, and set apart from the rest of the world geographically. But we’re not. Not really. All you need to do is look around to see that we might be small but we’re capable of great things. We might be small, but we have a thriving creative community of which you can be a part if you want.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts from this years SpecFicNZ Blogging Week, as always there have been some good ones. I love this time of year as it gives me a chance to reflect on what it means to me to be a New Zealander, and a writer of speculative fiction and explore the ways in which those things work together. And amazingly, I managed a post every day for the last week! Hopefully this means you’ll hear from me more regularly again from now on 😉