If you are a GoodReads user, feel free to add me as a friend! I make sure to set a goal for the challenge they do yearly, currently I’m at 57/70 books for 2018, so, well on track to meet it by the end of the year.
When I was a child my mother worried that I didn’t get out and spend enough time with friends, but who needs friends when you have books?
I’m joking! I’m joking. I have many wonderful friends.
But I also have many wonderful books.
I spent a lot of my childhood embedded in pages. Mum didn’t need to worry, the books were taking very good care of me, leading me on all kinds of adventures through this world and countless others.
I’ve been so busy writing my next book that I’ve slacked off on sharing the good news – Kotahi Bay is finally done! The final book in the series is now available for pre-order at the price of 99c. It’ll go up once it’s live so if you want a bargain get in now.
The final book follows Samantha, who has been a part of the series since the very beginning. In fact, it was her story that I started out wanting to tell, only to then realize it was the last piece of the series, not the first. Things have morphed and changed a bit along the way, but I’m so pleased to have finally finished this series and given Sam her story.
It feels a little surreal to have finally finished this series, though there is always the possibility that I’ll return to the world of the Bay with fresh stories to tell.
I am thrilled to share my newest cover with you all. Behold! (Really, it is so gorgeous, it deserves to be beheld). Leigh, over at Dwell Design has really knocked it out of the park with this one.
Now, I can hear you questioning – what is this book? We’ve heard nothing about it. Not a peep! You have, actually… you just know all the parts of the book as Burn, Flare, and Ignite.
When I first published Burn I thought it was a standalone novella, but then so many of my readers wanted more that I committed myself to writing more of Carmel, more of Serafina, completing the Maiden, Mother, Crone aspect of things*.
Flare followed, focusing on Vana, the mother, and then Ignite was born, following Aida, my maiden. But by the time I’d written those stories I realized they weren’t three novellas, not really, they were all just different parts of one continuous story.
And so I decided to find a new title and combine them all into one book. A novel told in three parts, from three different characters – don’t ask my how I’m going to write a blurb for that, I am not looking forward to it in the slightest!
What I AM looking forward to is finishing the edits on Ignite and compiling this thing into a finished book. It’s been a long time in the making, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
*My original plan was for other stories set in the same world, and I still hope to write those some day!
This weekend past I attended my second ever SFF convention. It was a long weekend, full of socializing, sitting in on fascinating panels and discussions, and which for me meant convening my first ever panel (Mythology, with amazing panelists), attending a launch for At the Edge (which has my short story Hope Lies North included), the SJV Awards (where I didn’t win anything), and a closing ceremony (during which I won a prize for having the best-coloured hair – truly impressive, because there were some awesome colours present!).
I came home sick, but that was expected. It just would have been really nice if I hadn’t begun the weekend sick! lol I had a horrible case of vertigo all weekend, headaches, and a terribly sore tailbone after the first day or so of sitting. Despite the discomfort, I really enjoyed my time away! There were so many great talks, and I got to meet one of my favourite authors – Juliet Marillier. It was almost six years ago that I was geeking out over appearing alongside her in A Foreign Country, so it was really neat to meet her and to find she is just as lovely in person as online.
I also came home feeling reconnected with the writing community in NZ. To see such a bounty of fantastic authors (who are also fantastic people!), to just hang, to talk story and craft and all the other stuff that goes along with being a writer was really awesome. Pretty much all of my local writing groups collided, and no-one died on impact 😉 New connections were made, old ones strengthened. It’s a beautiful thing.
We also got to make an announcement about LexiCon, but it’s secret squirrel for now! Keep an eye out next week for that one. We’re almost finished lining up our guests of honour and after the weekend we have an abundance of panels to pick from. It finally feels like a real living thing. We all wanted to give Au Contraire it’s time to shine, and it did. It was a great weekend. Now it’s our turn 🙂
Special thanks to all my writing crew for making it the weekend it was. You know who you are!! ❤ MISS YOU!!!
The sun has been shining here for a few days now and I am feeling much, MUCH, better. I took the pressure off, allowed myself to just take it easy and do the things I wanted to rather than doing everything like I normally do (or trying to, anyway).
It’s under a week now until the book fest (in fact, one week from today you can expect a wrap up of that event here on the blog!) and I am feeling in a really good place about it. I know I’m going to be nervous as heck, but also that I will be there with some great friends and we’re going to have a kick ass weekend regardless of whether we sell any books or not. Plus, a few days kid free just being an author? That’s pretty awesome too. I could use the downtime from parental duties, and I am going to enjoy the hell out of the road trip listening to just my music, really loud!
I’ve finally started work on Flare again. I’ve spent some of my ‘medication adjustment period’ reading Take Off Your Pants, a book about outlining. This has always been the bane of my authorial life. I never outline properly and I always pay for it. However, seeing as I was only a few thousand words in, I got to put the tactics to practice and work on the outline for this novella. Which made me realize I had started too late. So I’ve slowly been drafting the new opening scenes (mostly on paper with pen, while lying on my sunny deck), and then I’ll finesse what I already had to line up to my new, stronger outline.
It’s interesting, because I am noticing this happening a lot more. I had until now been thinking that for some reason I was suddenly bad at writing. Like, I’d forgotten how to do it, and it was just that much harder now. While admittedly I am a bit out of habit with first drafting these days due to the heavy editing loads I’ve had, I actually am realizing that I’ve moved past the ‘blindly writing shit because words are better than no words’ stage of my career, and am actually thinking more carefully about plot, and character, and everything else. There is definitely still a place for first drafting quickly, but this being the sequel I never intended to write (my plans for the Mother book of this trilogy changed after people wanted more from Carmel) I need to tread a little more carefully, and develop the world accordingly. I’m actually invested in getting it more right than wrong on my first take now, and not willing to leave that to chance.
Generally, in the past, it’s taken me a good 10K on novels, and half that on novellas to really get a feel for my main character, but I’m working on knowing them better before I go in now, and that should hopefully help cut down my revision time later on.
Anyway… Life is good. I’m actually feeling happy which is kind of wonderful. I’m hoping it lasts this time.
Well, I’ve done it again… Published a book that is. The Way the Sky Curves is now available on Amazon. I’ll be working on getting it up at other distributors in the near future, but this feels like enough for one day 🙂
I’m so thrilled that it’s finally out there! And now I can move onto the next project.
As I mentioned in April, now that it’s out there, I’ll be doing a draw for one lucky person to win a guest role in one of the K’Bay books. There are only three entries at the moment, so head on over and comment on THIS POST if you want to go into the draw.
And finally, this happened on twitter the other night:
Why yes, I’m writing and drinking. If you can guess which scene when you read it, I’ll give you the next ebook free! pic.twitter.com/mtDIpvvFun
It was the last scene I worked on for the book, but was NOT the last scene in the book. If you read the book and want to take a guess, drop me an email. If you get it right, I will gift you a copy of the next book in the series.
Yesterday we met Melody, and today it’s time for Noah’s turn – he’s the male lead and love interest in The Way the Sky Curves. Noah moved to the Bay a couple of years back and settled in as the local tattoo artist where he took a wayward Jake under his wing, and found his place in the town. He’s not always been the best of men, but he’s worked hard to get to where he is, and he’s happy. As far as he can tell, he’s got everything he needs.
And then he meets Melody.
He scanned the bus, his eyes latching onto a pretty young thing with dark blonde hair about halfway back. The seat beside her was empty, her crossed arms and restless green eyes no doubt deterring anyone from sitting there. Anyone but him. He made his way down the aisle and carefully slotted his duffle bag into the overhead storage; his load was fragile, but perhaps not as volatile as the girl now sitting beneath it.
Noah is one of the good guys, and I love him to bits. He could be likened to Jason Momoa, though his skin is a bit darker from his Maori heritage.
Kotahi Bay. Where is it? Is it a real town? What does it mean?
Well, no, it’s not a real town, not outside of my head and my books anyway. It’s a mishmash of places I have known and loved, or loved to hate. It’s a hidden town, really, on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Maybe around the coast from where I live, maybe further up. But it’s on the seaside, and no major roads go through it. It’s out of the way, the kind of place people don’t find unless they know it’s there.
And the name? I thought long and hard about what to name my town. Whether I should use a real location, or invent my own. Ultimately, I decided fiction was better in this case, especially considering the foundation of my stories. Ko roughly translates to a location in time or space, and tahi is the Maori word for one. And Kotahi can mean unity. The Bay IS united, it’s a place where people, demigods, other magical creatures live alongside each other and are united in the purpose of protecting themselves and the town.
Because it’s a special place. A place that other people want to destroy. In the world of my series it is the birth place of the Maori gods.
Home is where the heart is. Home is where you hang your hat. Home is where one starts from. There are a lot of quotes and sayings about home – there are a lot of thoughts and feelings about the matter as well.
Kotahi Bay is home to a lot of different people, some who were born into the Bay – Melody for instance runs away to the city, but finds herself running back to the Bay, when things go to hell. Noah on the other hand is not a native to Kotahi Bay, but he finds himself there and eager to do what he can to help protect it.
Which is one of the overarching themes of the series. What makes a place feel like home, and what barriers are in place that prevent other people from making that same connection? What changes a place from being just a town to having that ineffable quality of feeling like ‘home’?
How important is your home to you? What would you do to protect it?
You’ll have to read the books in order to find out 😉
Across the world there are many cultures, many religions. Some embraced, others hidden, some obscured by time and history. While New Zealand is a relatively young country in terms of how long people have been here, there has still been enough time elapsed since colonization to erode and discourage Maori beliefs and customs. Due to a primarily oral language, there is much about Maori life pre-colonization which has been lost, and knowledge of spiritual customs is one of those things that seemed to be swept away by the early missionaries to New Zealand.
I can remember even back in primary school, only hearing about Maori as being involved with the missionaries and noted the lack of stories and information about their belief system and practices before then. While we were told the Maori creation stories, and heard other legends about primarily Maui, I was curious about the (what felt like) completely missing information on the ways in which Maori interacted with these gods and their beliefs prior to colonization.
As someone with Maori heritage, this has always made me feel uncomfortable, like there were gaps in my knowledge, like those gaps were difficult to close because it seemed like the information I wanted was just not available. So I guess you could say that part of my explorations in Kotahi Bay are a way of internally resolving that lack, of finding ways to reconnect with the Maori gods through creating my own truths and interpretations of those gods. While they don’t play a direct role in the stories for the most part, their presence is felt in the world through their children, and the essence of them is certainly there. What I feel to be their essence, grounded in their connectivity to the world in which we live in, from the sea to the sky, to the harvest fields and the depths of the forest, animals and plants alike.
I’ve actually used the creation story as a basis for the overarching plotline in the series, so if you go and read it, you might get some ideas – I am certainly not going to spell it out for you 😉
I’ll be introducing some of the gods who are connected with my series in future posts in a little more depth. Not all of them make an appearance, but a good portion of them do.