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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Indie Reading, two months in

(well, almost)

We’re getting close to the end of February, and so far I have read six indie pieces for my reading challenge. I have a couple more novels lined up, and still need to review one, but all in all am making excellent progress.

When I signed up for this challenge over at Anna’s blog, I thought it would do two things for me. A) it would make me read at least 24 books this year and B) it would expose me to self published works again.

Some of you might remember that awhile back now, gee, 2009 I think? I was part of the group of readers at the e-fiction book club. We were exposed to quite a variety of work, but mostly? It wasn’t great. It left me thinking that indie reads sucked. That the people who were self publishing were in some instances delusional about the quality of their work – and ultimately, that the gatekeepers of the traditional publishing industry were NEEDED.

Skip forward in time to 2010/11 – I know things have changed. I’ve read traditionally published books that I thought were complete rubbish. I know that there are a lot of good writers going the Indie route, but I really needed to dive in and explore what was out there for myself. Which is where this challenge has come in handy.

So far I have been pleasantly surprised. Only 1/6 of the stories has been really not great, in my opinion, the rest have ranged from good to fantastic. This is probably about the same ratio I have found in the traditionally published books I’ve read over the same period of time. Hell there was one trad published book I couldn’t even finish because it was so bad – I’ve not stopped reading any of the indie books.

I think it is this – this similarity of quality – which has really pushed me closer to going indie myself. Up until now I have been planning to release the novella myself, and other novellas, but haven’t committed to self publishing a novel (let’s be honest here – I don’t know what novel I will be working on in the near future. I have so many options, and right now, I just can’t make up my mind!). But you know what? When I figure out what it is, chances are very high that I won’t even bother submitting it to agents/publishers. It makes way more sense to me to release things myself, to retain control and ultimately be responsible for my own success or lack of.

Even a year ago I would have been scared by that, but not now. There is so much positive energy going around at the moment, and it’s impossible not to want to be a part of that. I feel empowered, and encouraged – something I never felt when I was sure I had to do this the traditional way.

Just because something is traditionally published, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Just because something is indie published, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. There are amazing books out there, waiting to be read, and I am thankful that those indie authors I know and are becoming familiar with are working so hard to raise the bar. Professional covers, well edited books, and a wider range of stories available. Great stuff!

Anyways, better get back to my own writing huh? If I want to get this novella done and out into the world, I need to work hard and make sure it’s the VERY BEST that it can be! Exciting times, folks. Exciting times.

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Writing update

I’ve had a bit of a lull again – it seems that the ‘I Sucks’ are doing the rounds at the moment and I had my dose. Thankfully, I’ve moved on from there and am stuck back into my work.

I have a few things going on at the moment, though most of my time has been spent rehashing the structure of MN – I’ll keep calling it this for now, but I need a title that better reflects the tone of the story, so at some point, it will change! – I was trying to do it in a spreadsheet, but then got frustrated and got some memo paper. It was the closest thing to index cards I could find at the supermarket.

I should confess right now that I have never used index cards before in my life. It has always sounded like a cumbersome and difficult way to do things. I just never *got* it. So you can imagine my surprise when yesterday I had a desperate desire to use them…

I’m using them to figure out which scenes go where. I have the beginning and end done, I just need to finish filling out the middle so that it’s not flabby. I’m working off the three act structure, the pink slips being my intro, 1st doorway, 2nd doorway, and big show down scenes. It’s actually really cool to see it there on the wall, and I think it will helps loads when I get around to the next draft.

At the moment, I’m looking at starting in March because there is an editing challenge on over at Kiwi Writers for 20hrs in the month. I’m going to be doing the editing anyways – might as well get a shiny badge out of it! lol I may get stuck in before then, but I have a couple of things to finish off this month still.

Top of the list is a short fantasy story that I’m reworking, The Comfort of Wood. I love this story, so I’m hoping that I can get it finished off in the near future.

I’m also tossing around ideas for my next big project. This requires some serious thinking about where I want to head as a writer. So many options, all of them tempting and delicious. At least I’m not limited in any way 😉 freedom to choose my own path is something I want to celebrate, which ties in a little to my guest post over at Amy Rose Davis’ blog. It’ll be up at some point – I’d give you a better idea of time but I suck at figuring out time conversions 🙂