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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I placed!!!

The winners of the latest round of the Search Term Challenge over at ErgoFiction, and I finally placed!!

Isn’t it pretty??

This is my first time placing, and definitely my best entry into the challenge so far. If you haven’t yet, pop over and have a read.

Now. Confession time:

I actually wasn’t sure about this story to begin with. I thought I would steer away from my typically creepy and disturbing stories and opt for something a little lighter (if still a little sad). I veered from my typical speculative fiction leanings, though stuck to my strengths.

It felt flat while I wrote it, though I have come to realize that’s because I’m not confident/experienced with writing stories with no spec-fic elements to them. I couldn’t see it for what it was once I’d written it. It took someone else reading it and giving me some feedback before I could read it with impartial eyes – and I actually found myself incredibly touched by the story.

I wanted to see whether I could pull off something non-spec-fic, and apparently I can. Funnily enough, Mocha Nihilism is also completely free of speculative fiction elements as well, and I am enjoying writing that. I guess I’m more flexible than I initially thought. Anything is possible.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the story! It’s going to be my last Search Term Challenge, and I’m so  pleased I went out with a place 🙂

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Free Flash Fiction!

That’s right, the Search Term Challenge stories are going live, one a day for your reading pleasure. Two are already up (I’m a bit slow… but I’m sure you’ll forgive me!), with 8 to come.

At the end of that time, you’ll be able to vote on your fav, and then we’ll get to see who wrote what, and who will wear the crown for this round.

I love seeing how many different ideas can come out of the same set of search terms, it really highlights for me just how different we all are, how unique our creative processes are.

Anyways,  head on over and start checking them out – it is YOU the reader, who will decide the winner!

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Re-forming the habit

The writing habit, that is.

We all know I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times. We all know that I have been struggling to claim some time for me and bring back a dose of daily words since the wonderful and blessing filled arrival of Natalie.

I’ve made plans, and set goals and this last lot? I was sure they were going to work. I was feeling great about them. And then I got sick and just couldn’t do it. I was even seriously considering dropping out of October’s Novel Push Initiative. I felt like such a failure when it came to my writing that I just didn’t want to fight against time any more.

Then, Merrilee bashed me around the head, October began and I wrote.

Yes folks, you heard me right. I wrote. Despite the raging headache and the house full of children. I found a ten minute chunk in the day (actually, it was more like an 8 minute chunk and then another 8 several minutes after – I was interrupted by door-knockers. Their timing always sucks) and got some words down.

I changed my daily goal from 20 minutes to 10, because right now all that really matters is that I form the habit – that I reconnect with my writer self on a daily basis. That is the hard part. And it is hard – like changing your diet so that you’re eating only the good stuff, or starting a new exercise programme. Any habit is hard work initially, but once you push through that, you’re set.

And I want to be there again. I want it to be easy. I fondly remember the days I would write 1,500 words a day every single day (even while on holiday!). It would only take me a half hour or so and I could switch into writers mode at the drop of a hat. I know I can’t write that much now, but writing every day means that my progress will be visible and I can stop feeling like I’m stuck in a rut.

I have two flash fiction pieces in the works at the moment. Well, one that I’m going to finish, the other is being morphed into probably a short story. I want to finish the flash off and then get stuck back into Skaazi’s story. I’m going back to my last set of goals and making Friday my submission day. It’s kind of the worst possible day to submit something (who checks email over the weekend??), but it will be a positive way for me to go into the weekend and give me a deadline to work to.

I’m still not 100% better, but I should be sometime in the next week.

I CAN do this. And I will.

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Silly dreams, brain lightning and torpedo breasts

These are just a few of the search terms on the list for ErgoFiction’s latest round of the Challenge. This time it’s flash fiction – so get your thinking caps on and knock out a short short story!

To be honest, I wasn’t going to participate in this round. I hadn’t a single flash of inspiration for it. None of the terms spoke to me (last time the word ‘stillborn’ not only inspired my short story ‘The Feud’, but it also brought Delaney into existence). But Merrilee asked if I was writing anything (we both lamented the lack of an idea), then I told Tama about it, and the bastard called me out.

So, I’m writing something. Thank goodness it’s flash fiction! 1,000 words at most, though I have a feeling mine won’t make it that far. I only have a couple hundred words, but I won’t need long to knock the rest out. Then it’s back to Skaazi and the invasion of earth. Fun times.

Anyways, go check out the search terms, maybe an idea will spark. I’m looking forward to reading what other people have come up with.

Obviously I’m feeling somewhat better. I’m still coughing lots and my voice comes and goes, and I’m still dizzy. But otherwise? Just dandy 🙂

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On form again

And I’m feeling gooooood!

I completed the rewrite of a story yesterday, and just polished it a bit now. I’m going to submit it in a couple days when I’m sure that there is nothing blatantly obvious that needs working on. I also sent off my flash fiction piece this afternoon after polishing that up as well.

YES!

By the end of the week I’ll have 3 pieces out into the world, and I’m really thrilled about that. Now to pick the next piece to work on and get stuck into it. I’m hoping it will be an easy pick and that I don’t get derailed somehow. Something to mull over for the rest of the day while I try and get some critique work done and out the door.

Balancing these things is something I’m still not fantastic at – it seems to be an all or nothing kind of thing. I’m either just working on my own stuff, or just looking at other peoples. I’m very aware of the fact that I need to clear my desk though, and to that end I’ve mostly stopped saying ‘yes’ to the people asking me if I have time to read stuff.

Mostly… *grins* it’s hard to say no to some people when I can pretty much guarantee I’ll enjoy the story!

Anyway. On with the critiquing while the baby sleeps. I’m counting down the days of school holidays (three, including the weekend, but not today as it’s more than half done). YES!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to get back to our normal routines, even though the beginning of Term 2 marks the downward count to baby’s arrival. 11 weeks to go folks!

Just had to edit to add that after declaring 11 weeks, baby started kicking the hell out of me as if to say ‘if you’re lucky!’

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I’m struggling

I’m not making any progress lately. None. Well, none worth mentioning. I’m  starting to worry that I’ve hit the slowing down part of my pregnancy already – I am not ready for that yet! I worked all the way through til the very end of my pregnancy with Lauren, and I guess I assumed I would be able to do the same this time too.

And to think, just a few weeks ago I was fairly sure I’d manage not just 6 short stories, but more.

I don’t really know what to do about it. It irritates me, but I’m not feeling guilty or bad about it (which I guess is a good thing in some ways…) but I still have stories that need working on and I just can’t seem to summon the energy or willpower to do it.

This morning I have three short stories open, well, Snow White, The Feud and my piece of flash. I’m going to read them all and see what I think. Snow might be just about ready for a final polish and sending off into the world and if I can achieve even that this week, I’m going to be happy. If I can get that and the flash ‘finished’ I’ll be thrilled.

Can you believe it’s Easter in just a few days??

Woooosh.

That’s the sound of 2010 rushing by, and as this belly of mine grows ever larger I’m reminded daily of the impending arrival. I can feel it creeping up on me, the moment when all my fears about not getting stuff done disappear and all I can think about it how much I can’t wait to meet this little person. It’s going to happen soon, I can feel it hovering, waiting for a the perfect opening to sneak in.

I’m blaming this on a friend who gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last week. It’s made me eager to meet my baby too. I’m losing focus, or refocusing rather, and that’s not a bad thing, it’s just that there are still three months to go and it’s a little early for me to go into hibernation.

Hopefully I can crack on with some work again in the near future. If I can do something today I’ll feel better at least.

Wish me luck. I totally need it. I’m typically so organized, and driven, working on regardless of whether I ‘feel’ like it. But right now I’m struggling.

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Being sensible

I’ve been desperate to make progress the last few days, and struggling really hard to do so because of this cold – it hit me pretty hard and I was sure that I would get nothing done at all.

Thanks to a few people (namely Merrilee and Karen) I pushed ahead though and got some work done while still ending up in bed at a reasonable time! It helps to be reminded that if I get stuck into something wholeheartedly, I get to ‘the end’ a lot quicker than when I dither.

That said, now that I am feeling better today and my brain is functioning, I can see that I really need to start taking better care of myself. Winter is coming and with the lowered immune system associated with pregnancy, the inability to take any decent drugs for any illnesses I do pick up, and the fact that I’m still breastfeeding as well as growing a baby means that I need to eat right, rest well, and all that other good stuff. Most of which I manage to avoid for one reason or another….

So yes. I’m going on a bit of a health kick, making sure that I eat more real food and less snack food (someone should really come prepare meals for me I think!), because hopefully if I can get myself into some good habits now they’ll last me until well after baby’s arrival, and help with more sleepless nights and tandem feeding my little ones!

What does this mean for my writing?

Less time spent stressing throughout the day when I don’t get to do any work, and more time being focused on writing when I DO have the time. I’m now going to consider it unhealthy to focus on anything negative because the reality is that when I get down to work I make great progress, and when life is working against me there is no point wasting my energy getting annoyed be it.

The week has been a bit slow, but I wrote my first piece of flash fiction, and have rewritten the ending of my Snow White story as well as tidied the piece up in general. I’m pretty happy with that progress.

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Flashing

I’ve been writing something shorter than usual, its the story that struck me when I contemplated Karen’s cloud photo for her latest writing challenge. The story isn’t in a new genre for me (part of the requirement of this challenge), but I thought I’d write it anyway – better to be writing something than nothing right?

What is new, is that I’m refining it to under 1000 words which will make it my first ever piece of flash fiction. I’ve read some flash, though not a lot, so I’m not expending it to be good flash fiction. We all have to start somewhere though 😉

The challenge has been a lot of fun, under 1000 words doesn’t give you many. As it stands the first draft if over, but I am so looking forward to cutting it down to size, it’ll be a much better story for it. This has led me to go and read more flash though, in an attempt to figure out what it is that makes good flash.

I thought I’d ask here too though: what makes flash work for you? Is it any different to what makes other forms of writing work?

And finally, where do you go to read good flash fiction?