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2019 – the year ahead

2019 only feels like it really began at the start of February, and even then, it was a slow start to the year. I spent all of January working my butt off to get Butcherbird done and delivered on time, and during the final pass I was so happy with what I was seeing. I was proud. I AM proud. I’m confident it’s my best book yet, and that’s a really nice feeling compared to the usual nerves, anxiety and sick in my stomach feeling I normally get when I finish a book.

So, it’s off with Huia now, and the wait has begun. But I don’t have time to think about that, because there are so many other things to do! This year is going to be a busy one with more travel than ever before – there are writers festivals to attends, conventions too, a joyous assortment that has me slightly worried about how on earth I’m going to manage my chronic illnesses, but I know I’ll find a way.

Because I’m more in control now. Sure, flare ups happen, but I’ve done heaps of reading and learning, and for the first time ever I’m actually okay about a slower pace. In the past I’ve often referred to myself as the tortoise, rather than the hare, but that’s truer than ever. I rest, a lot. I look after myself more – because I know that’s the only way I can keep doing the things I love. I still have days where I’m all ‘fuck I hate my illness’, because ugh, it’s annoying as hell, but on the flip side I feel like I’m in a better place than I’ve been in years and if it hadn’t been for finally seeing a Dr who was willing to look deeper and not brush off my issues, I wouldn’t have arrived here. I’d still be struggling with my mental illness, still be crashing and burning on a regular basis. Still be dealing with the frustrating belief that I SHOULD be able to do so much more because I WANTED to, desperately.

But, I can’t. Actually. And I shouldn’t. And while the want, the drive, the desire is still there, I’m okay to potter along at my own pace. I’m good with that.

Ahhhh, peace.

Anyway, this post was meant to be about what’s in store for the year! Goals, and hopes and dreams and whatnot. I think I can summarise those pretty easily though.

  1. Enjoy all there is to enjoy about my amazing writer life.
  2. Read over 100 books (I’m already well on the way! Check out my challenge here).
  3. Rewrite and knock Juniper into shape for publishing.
  4. Do some rebranding for J.C. Hart.
  5. Try not to think too hard about Butcherbird (I SO want to share it with everyone).

There will be other writing projects as well, I know that. But I’m still formulating what I want everything to look like. And, a kind of, grand reveal… I’ve been keeping a secret, but it’ll all be out in the open soon 😉 and I’m looking forward to when that happens as well.

Right, I think that’s it for now! If you missed my journals from Te Papa Tupu, then you can find those here. It was such a great programme to be part of, and I hope that one day in the future I’ll be able to be part of it as a mentor.

I hope 2019 is treating you well so far – it feels a lot different to last year, in a lot of good ways.

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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!

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End of Jan summary

Well, a whole month has passed since Project 2012: First draft to submission began.  It was a pretty busy one at home, which posed some challenges, but all up I think it was successful.

I managed to read through the first draft of TCM (which still needs a new title!), and I discovered the opposite of what I thought was true – the bits I thought were exciting and interesting ARE, but they make up a much smaller part of the novel than I had thought. And all the stuff before that?? Well that was interesting too!!

In the end, I stopped counting scenes and making notes around 70% into the novel because everything after that will be different. I found that I wrote a lot of very short scenes, many of which could easily be combined or deleted entirely. I have a few characters but only the main ones are fleshed out in any way. I also discovered that I really like my MC, she kicks butt, and she has some meaty issues to explore.

There is a lot that is going to be cut away from the original story line, but also a lot I intend to keep – more than I thought I would, which gives me more hope for getting this done. I’m sticking with my original premise, and have an exciting new vision for the end of the novel. At some point, I probably will write the other novel – see, there is totally a silver lining to first drafts that veer away from original concepts!

As for Sun-Touched, despite the kids being home all month, I managed to add around 7,000 words to it. It’s just shy of 30K now, and while I had hoped to have more words, I feel pretty good about where it’s going. I threw Madea off a (figurative) cliff and she’s scrambling for purchase now in Act 2, will be interesting to see how it all plays out!

February has marked a return to school for Ivy, and Playcentre has started up for the Littles and I as well. We’re into ‘settle’ in mode, and I am confident that within a couple of weeks we’ll have found a nice little routine.

So January was a pretty good month really, though I have a feeling that February is going to be even better. I’m going to keep writing on Sun-Touched, as well as try to hash out a new outline for TCM.

Woo!

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January kicked my ass

I know we’re still a few days from the end of the month, but WOW, what a month. I am exhausted on just about every level. I cannot wait until school goes back and we can start reforming a ‘normal’ routine again. I dream of days where both the littles are getting the sleep they need, where the big one is entertained and enlivened by all the learning and play she is doing at school, where I am not having to step in and resolve an issue every 5 minutes. Where I actually have the time and energy to keep on top of the housework and actually get some writing done…

I also can’t wait until this whole sleep training thing kicks in and I’m actually getting a few more hours. Right now, I can see progress, but I’m riding on a week of changing rooms 5-6 times a night, working my ass off getting Lauren to sleep and I just hope that it all pays off soon. I hope it all clicks into place, because I am  a mess. I’m imagining all kinds of scenarios which might mean I’m sleeping, and none of them are pretty (ie: I could drink myself into oblivion so that I won’t hear them when they wake up – cept, I really don’t want to drink! Let alone deal with a hangover).

That said… I have submitted two short stories this month. I’ve written a new story which will hopefully be revised and subbed in the next week, and I started work on revision of yet another short story. So, somewhere in there, I did find a little time.

We’ve had some lovely catch ups with friends, had a lot of fun playing and enjoying each others company. We’ve shuffled the house around and found new things to explore. It’s been good, frequently. Just exhausting.

It hasn’t been until this last week that I’ve felt ready to implode. This is the longest stretch ever that I’ve had 3 girls home to myself for and it is not easy (who on earth suggested summer holidays be this long??? lol). I know it will get better, get easier. I can see it in those moments when everyone is happy and playing nicely, when everyone is getting enough sleep. There are too many of the other moments at the moment though – the ones where one of them is too tired, but we’re out, or we have visitors, or there is some other reason that things just aren’t working right.

Next year it’ll be easier. And every year after that. I just need to hang in there for a couple of days until school starts. Despite my best efforts, I simply cannot provide enough stimulation for an almost 6 year old who doesn’t like to entertain herself, while also catering to the needs of a 6 month old and a 2yr old. Both of whom still need naps and are still breastfeeding.

Parenting is hard.

But it is also rewarding. I do love my babies, despite the months like this. Despite the sleep deprivation and the not ever having enough time to myself. It will get easier, and all the time and effort I put in now is worth it. I have to remind myself of that sometimes too. These little people are the most important thing in my life.

Roll on Feb! I intend to spend the first few days of the month catching up on TV shows, reading books, and enjoying a much more chilled out pace than I’ve  had the chance to for awhile now.

Speaking of reading, think I’ll do a review tomorrow. I just finished an awesome book and I want to share it with you all 🙂 I think it was the only thing keeping me sane the last few days!