Burn, cover reveal, Fantasy, publishing, release

Burn – Cover Reveal

So, next month I’m releasing my second novella!

Burn was originally written a few years ago for a specific market, but due to assignment stress I somehow managed to submit my assignment instead of the novella (thankfully, I ALSO submitted my assignment to my lecturer lol)… It is my grandest stuff up as a writer to date. It gutted me at the time, though I can definitely see the humour in it now 😉

Anyway, it’s a story I love, and I’m super excited to get it out into the world. I know some will say it’s a strange move to publish something so different to my first release, but I love writing in a range of genres, and I want my books to reflect that.

BURN_Final E-cover_JC HART

No parent should outlive their children.  But what if you do?  What if your son’s dying wish is to be burnt in the manner of his people — a people he was taken from as a child?  

Carmel must gather her orphaned grandson and her son’s corpse, and ease her aching bones into the long walk that takes her where she needs to be.  The footsteps of the past nag at her heels as she journeys to once again look upon the face of the Goddess.

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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 😉

I’m so happy right now 🙂

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!

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Raring to…

Revise!

Yes, you heard me right. I am gearing up for the great novella revision, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I know. What on earth has gotten into me? I can’t really explain it. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good bit of editing – I love cutting words, and finding ways to make things better, and cutting words, and adding more tension and all that (and cutting words – did I mention that?).

But right now, I am knee deep in the part of the process I loathe the most, and I’m more excited about it than I have ever been before. Go figure! Today I went through the novella and made scene notes, and then noted conflicts and changes, and then wrote comments on what needs improving, what needs removing, what needs moving… And came up with a pretty decent length list of things I need to do.

Strangely, this is not that different from how I normally do things. I don’t edit in order, I make lists of things to do, then usually I start with something easy (to prove that I CAN do it, and LOOK IT’S REALLY NOT SO BAD), and then I tackle something major so that I can sigh with relief and pat myself on the back for a job well done, before going back to something quick, so that I can tick something else off the list and see PROGRESS, and so on until I am sick of the sight of the thing and can’t wait to send it off to my poor crit buddies.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, about other peoples editing processes, and it’s encouraged me no end to see that HEAPS of people do it this way. I thought, for awhile, that I was basically just flailing around blindly, but it turns out that folks like Chuck Wendig and Rachel Aaron have a similar process. I’ve taken some notes from both of those articles, and incorporated them into my own process to give a try this time, as always I’m ever hopeful of finding a way to make it all run a bit smoother.

I still have to write a timeline for the novella (groan…. but I know how important this is. I mean, I’m pretty sure that at one part of my novel it’s summer and then a few days later its the middle of winter), as well as get some character info solidly on the page. A few people get a bit wobbly here and there. Gotta straighten them out.

But this story is GOOD, I really believe that. Now I can’t wait to make it BETTER.

And I think, for the first time in a long time, maybe ever (definitely ever, for a story longer than a short), I’m doing all of this before I send it to so much as a single reader. I’m super pleased with myself for that. I’m going to call that growth, and a step towards not being such a lazy writer.

Go me 🙂

Hope you’ve been having a good week!

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Words on the page

This last week has been pretty horrendous for my writing. I haven’t touched the novella in six days now, and am not functioning quite well enough yet to trust myself with it – I find at this stage in the game, I don’t want to invest time that is only going to result in more work to tidy up than not. However, since the kids have stopped puking all over me, it is well and truly time to get some words on the page.

Yesterday I booted up Omm and started typing. It was easy in some ways, because I had a place to start. This months writing challenge has a set first lineEdwin spotted them the moment he stepped off the train – what came after however, is something I’d been mulling over since May 1st.

In the end, I threw some words out there and ended up rehashing some thoughts I’d had for another story a few months ago. I may well change the object in question, but the essential thing was that it gave me a place to start from. The story is a little bizarre so far,  but you know what? I like it. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

In other news, I read a great post today over at the Rogue Blades Entertainment blog called Why Fantasy Speaks. I feel the same way, but I think it’s put better than I could.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

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So what DO I want to write?

*this post only relates to my novel writing, my short stories are coming along just fine ;-)*

Having decided to set Lifelines aside, I find myself presented with the next problem. One which has me feeling like I am floundering around.

If that’s not what I want to write – what is?

Do I have any novels that are good representatives of what I want to write? Or am I going to need to start fresh?

A quick run through the list leaves me with this: I have an unfinished trilogy of pure fantasy novels. I’m currently not sure how I feel about fantasy.

I have a YA supernatural type novel. I don’t think I want to write YA.

I have a space novel with young adult characters but which I don’t consider to be a YA novel. This one could be okay, but it does need work.

Novellas? I have two, ones a dark fiction tale that I really want to see reworked and published. That’s more in the vein of the writing I want to do. The other… it was a fun piece to write and it was more about just having a bit of a break from ‘serious’ writing.

Hmm…

I think I’m letting myself get too trapped by ‘genre’ when thinking about what I want to write. I would probably be better to say that I want to write thought provoking stories, stories that explore characters selves and how that relates to the situations that they are in, how that is changed by their circumstances and the choices they find themselves making.

Which could be just about anything.

I keep telling myself that I don’t need to think about this right now because I’m not novel writing, not for a fairly long time yet. I’m not even considering novel writing until next year, possibly not until the second half depending how this whole 3 child thing works out. There are too many unknowns in the equation – it could be much easier than I thought, or I could have no energy or drive to do anything other than be the best mother and wife I can be for awhile.

I’m going to put these thoughts in a box for now, but I really felt like I needed to get them out of my head first. It will sort itself out.

Possibly the most surprising thing about this post is how ambivalent I feel about ‘fantasy’ right now. I used to think that was all I would write, and now… well I just don’t know if I do want to write it. Traditional fantasy, sword and sorcery, whatever, has kind of lost its appeal for some reason.

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NZ Speculative Fiction Blogging week begins!

And boy, there are some really great posts already being written to kick the week off. You can find the links to those here, where Anna is keeping track of things.

So, I guess I should post something too right?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term ‘Speculative Fiction’ it’s a blanket term for the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror – but more importantly, all the things in between, anything that blurs the lines of reality and explores worlds that aren’t like ours.

For me, learning this has been a huge relief – no longer am I a genre slut, I’m a writer of speculative fiction! I love to write all kinds of stories, the genre means less to me than the telling, though predominantly these stories have aspects of fantasy, science fiction and horror.

Anyways, part of the reason for this week is to get people talking and connecting about speculative fiction in New Zealand. We’re a small country and typically, we do really well with supporting local acts. The music scene is a realyl good example of this – I know a lot of people who download overseas music, but they always make a point of going out and buying NZ made stuff, attending gigs and in general really getting behind acts (hell we even have a whole month dedicated to NZ music).

We love our movie industry, and we support that really well too. A lot of amazing films with speculative slants are made here both by NZers and people from other countries around the world too (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, the Narnia movies etc).

Unfortunately this is not the case when it comes to the written word. There are limited markets within NZ for our work, and the big publishers here are pretty convinced that there simply isn’t a big enough market for it.

Yeah right, as the Tui billboard would say.  We Kiwi’s are an inventive bunch, and there are a lot of us creating works of speculative fiction out there, most of whom devour stories and novels of the same when we get can our hands on it.

Hopefully, together we can strengthen our speculative fiction community 🙂

I’ve run out of words for now, and time, but head on over to Anna’s blog and check out some of the other posts. It should be a great week!

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weekend writing – how did that happen?

I’m actually not sure, to be honest… normally weekends are bad for me in general, so how I came to get 3,000 words out yesterday is something of a miracle. A much welcomed one, but a miracle all the same!

It means I want to make 45K by the end of today… and I think I can do it… (it’ll also mean I should get started sooner rather than later though, just to make sure 😉 ).

But it’s good, and I am enjoying it, and it won’t be long before I am halfway through the story. I still haven’t done that planning yet, but I have the ideas there it’s just a matter of placing them on the page. I have to go back and add some bits to something I wrote yesterday, bulk it out a little, and that will tie in with the second POV which is being introduced today. I am confident that will happen within the next 2,000 words so it should be today.

Exciting stuff!

I’ve been reading Steven King’s Danse Macabre the last week or so, slowly making my way through it. It’s a good read, even though it’s based on horror between the 1950’s and the 1970’s, so before my time really. It would be awesome if he wrote a new one on the changes in the field since then.

I’d love to write horror. I love reading the stuff, but I guess I have always thought I’d stuff it up if I tried writing it – that said, there are a couple of short stories which fall into the bracket, and I do like the way they are turning out/have turned out.

One day, I will definitely try my hand at a horror novel. But until then I guess it’s fantasy for me.