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.


booksMy second post for the Māori Literature Trust is now live! This one is about my love of books, and my love of creepy things as well.

You can check it out here.

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.

becoming, challenges, year ahead

Happy New Year! + Goals

Hey, it’s 2015!!!

How awesome 🙂

2014 kicked my butt, but I came out of it stronger and more ready for change than I imagined I would be going into it. I’m planning to spend 2015 living, learning, and becoming.

I’ve lined up a few specific challenges. There is, naturally, the Goodreads challenge, and then Andi roped me, along with some others, into the 101 in 1001 challenge. I’ve already managed to tick one thing off each of these lists – but I can’t update the book until it’s published. Damnit! The trouble with reading pre-published books 😉 The beauty, on the other hand, is that I was among the first to finish the series, and DAMN. I want to be Melissa Pearl when I grow up lol. Well, the Spec Fic version of her anyway.

Back to the whole new year goals thing…

This year is a lot about me working through some stuff. Hopefully the last ‘big’ stuff I’ve got sitting in the back of my brain. I may post more about it at some point, but I’m still processing. It’s stuff I had thought/naively hoped I had dealt with, but as with all trauma stuff, it crops up at the most unhelpful times and I know now that it’s something I need to really face head on in order to finally put it to bed. So I’ve given myself some overarching goals for the year so that I stay conscious of the direction I want to be moving in. As follows:

Work towards spending more time on my own writing than on other peoples – I LOVE helping other people out, but I have a tendency to prioritize it over my own writing. If I have a piece of my work to edit, as well as a piece of someone elses? Yeah, I will pick theirs almost every time. I am starting the year off by always working on my own stuff, even just a little, before so much as looking at whatever else is on my plate. MY writing is important too.

Read more published works than pre-published – this ties in a little with the above. I read a LOT of pre-published stuff. I love to help out! And while that’s all well and good, it’s not really helping me push my own writing forward. I need to be branching out, exploring more, learning more from people who are further into their careers than I am.

Reconnect with myself, feel at ease in my body and mind, and fight against my fears – this is a hard one to quantify. I have a number of books lined up to read which have been suggested by others or selected by myself. I am focusing on being more present, more aware. Of owning my feelings, of being comfortable just being me, and casting off what I have felt others expected from me.

One interesting thing that I learned/rediscovered this year was that I really love the way my body feels after exertion. The massive hike with the kids made me feel alive in a way I haven’t since giving birth and I want more of that. I want to feel the pull of my muscles, I want to be out of breath with it. I want that elation that comes along with achieving something awesome. Something I didn’t think I could do. I don’t imagine I’ll be climbing mountains in the very near future, but hey, one day, I might be.

So, there are the goals, the plans. The hopes. I guess, over all, I want to make me an important person to myself. That might sound stupid to some people, but I’ve spent most of my life making myself insignificant and putting everyone else ahead of me. Sometimes, this is vital – for example, when you have small kids – but a lot of the time, it’s not really helping anyone. It’s certainly not helping me. I’m important too, and I need to be an advocate for myself.

I still feel a little resistant about writing that, but hopefully by the end of the year it will just be a normal thought. A part of who I am.

*forces self to actually post this and not relegate it to the bottomless pit of ‘drafts’*.

authors, reading

What’s on my reading list this year

Last month I posted about my Goodreads Challenge for the year, a mere 30 books (and I’m already behind, at just 3 so far!). Having such a low number really means that I will need to be a bit more choosy when it comes to what I’m reading. It means I will be more inclined to set things aside if they aren’t capturing me, and it means doing a little planning.

I’m usually the kind of gal who grabs books willy nilly, and I’m definitely guilty of only reading a fraction of the books that I purchase. In an ideal world, I will read them all one day, but time is short and getting shorter.

So, what do I HAVE to read this year?

Naturally, my text books: The Essentials of Family Therapy, and The Handbook of Transcultural Counselling & Psychotherapy.

Now that we’ve got the academic things out of the way, I MUST read The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig. I loved the first two books in the series and am very excited to read the third. Miriam Black is a fantastic character and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to this time around.

I also have got to get my hands on a copy of The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater. The Raven Boys was my first ever Stiefvater book and I just adore her wonderful way with words. Really looking forward to reading book 2.

I’d also love to read Cress, book 3 of the Lunar Chronicles by Melissa Meyer. I liked the first two, after not really expecting to, and she’s definitely an author whose work I’ll be following.

It’s nice to know there are  a few series that I’m keen to follow on with, though now I’m a bit sad that I’m not branching out or have any new authors whose work I want to line up. I’m going to have to go on the hunt.

You can help me here – I’ve recently been reminded that I love a good serial killer book. Not specifically police oriented stuff, but you know, people, serial killers, figuring out who it is stuff. I’d like to read some more of this type of book, with a futuristic earth setting if anyone knows who writes that kind of stuff. I’m planning on finally writing Saving Tomorrow next year, and I need some inspiration.

Delaney’s story has been four years in the making already and once I’m clear of study I want to give another shot. The main thing that has been holding me back is that futuristic writing needs a different kind of world building to fantasy, or even things set on other planets, and I know that I have to bring the city to life in order to make the most of this story.

So, suggestions welcome! Cities, action, murder, killers, grey areas, futuristic earth. Gimme gimme gimme.

Thanks 😉

Also, if there is anything that you think I should desperately be reading, let me know. I’m totally open to finding some new authors to adore, though my reading habits are often dictated by the rather small size of my book budget. I’ve got a few books lined up for the near future from some writer friends, but you can never have too many books, right?


Goodreads reading challenge 2014

I’ve been signing up for this challenge for the last 3 years – and managed to top my goal every year. It’s great to have a target in mind, and when you need do nothing more than update your goodreads to track it (which I do, anyway) there is really no reason not to.*

The first year I opted for 75 books, but dropped back to 50 the last two due to study, and the decision not to finish crappy books. I’ve done a lot more beginning and setting aside in these last two years than ever before, and you know what? I feel heaps better for it. When I look back on what I read last year, most of it was pretty good.

This year I am dropping my goal number even lower – down to 35. With the increased study load, I know it will be a lot harder to find time to read for pleasure, but it’s a good way to make sure I am reading quality books, not snacking on crap. I’m starting the year off right, and have chosen The Scorpio Races as my first book. It’s been on my kindle for the better part of a year, and I have been saving it for the right time.

The time is now 🙂

I fell in love with Maggie Stiefvater’s writing in June last year when I read The Raven Boys. Oh how I loved that book. I’m not the biggest fan of YA, but this really captured me. So I know I’m going to enjoy The Scorpio Races.

I don’t have anything beyond that lined up, so if you have suggestions for relatively inexpensive e-books, I’d love to hear them.

*My only issue with Goodreads is that I can’t count the books I read to give my writer friends feedback on until they are published, and sometimes that’s not the same year I read it. Also, I can’t include the books I read as an intern for Entangled. Between the two of those things, that’s probably an extra 20 books a year. So, while 35 *might* seem low, there is a lot of behind the scenes reading going on ;-)**

**let’s not even think about all the academic stuff I’ll be reading!! Trying not to dwell on that until the papers actually start lol.


Here and there

I’ve recently started expanding my net presence, and while I am still very much a newbie to all the ins and outs, rather than making life more difficult it seems to be making life easier!

While looking through Goodreads, I worked out that because I have stories in some anthologies that are on the site, I could become a Goodreads Author. Seems crazy on some levels, I’ve only had a few stories published, but hey, I’m not going to complain 🙂 It feeds my blog posts through to my goodreads page as well by the looks.

I now have a ‘page’ over on Facebook for my writer stuff. It feels a bit odd having my own page, but hey, it’s there now! I’ve discovered that when I post updates to it, it sends them through to twitter which is pretty neat – I can now be present both on FB as well as twitter, without too much hassle.

Until now I rarely used FB for anything other than checking in on family and friends, so it’s great that it can be useful for other stuff too. So far, my page isn’t very pretty or anything, but hopefully over time I’ll master it. Head over and *like* me if you’re on FB!

I’m using networked blogs as well, which auto posts any blog to my FB personal page as well as my writer page, and twitter as well.

It does feel odd, but it feels good as well. It wasn’t that I was hiding that I am a writer, but I wasn’t letting a good chunk of my friends and family know about it. Now I’m out there, being public with it. I certainly wouldn’t be doing things that made more work for me, but now when I post a blog it’s everywhere without me having to think about it, and when I write a message it’s on facebook and twitter. Who knew it could be this easy?

If you have a facebook page, let me know so I can like you back. And if I’m not connected with you on Goodreads, I’d love to be!


Goals wrap up for 2009

This year I’ve done two general ‘goals’ posts, one at the start of the year and one halfway through.

The first general list looked a lot like this, though I’ve added in red purple (I don’t even like red really!) how I went:

Get published in some way shape or form! – didn’t manage this

Move house (a given), and buy it (still have to talk to the bank). – moved and purchased, renovations begun!

Finish edits on Lifelines and start submitting it. – I actually did this!

Edit Following Faith and look for a potential home for it. – planned to start, never did.

Write two new novels. – I completed the first draft of The Consign Mate, and started writing Chasing Ascension.

Rewrite/edit/polish one of my existing novels. – other than Lifelines, my previous novels remained untouched, though I did read Book 1 & 2 of the Resurgence Trilogy and began planning the third novel.

Get back into playing the Sax. – epic fail!

Read a lot more and keep up to date on Goodreads. – I read a lot more. I did not keep up to date on Goodreads.

Get fitter, be more active. I want to be a good role model for my girls and I don’t feel like I’m doing that at the moment. – I am more active now, though not as much as I had wanted to be by now.

Successfully pull off the Kiwiwriters venture being announced tomorrow. – this went off really well, worth the time and effort.

The second one was a lot more vague as I had been posting monthly goals and not doing so well on them. I’d loaded the first half of my year up in a big way and was learning from my mistakes.

I did pretty well with this: Lifelines is being submitted to places still, I didn’t quite get 6 short stories ready for submission but I wrote 6 drafts and am working on rewrites of some of them. The gardens are still not complete but I did manage to get a good crop of a couple vegetables out of it so far.

2010 is just around the corner, and as it comes I know I have about 6 months of being able to get stuff done, followed by trying to adjust to the new life in our home and adapting to being a family of 5 rather than 4. It’s going to be interesting, but I know it’s going to be a lot of fun. Good things await, I just need to let myself be open to them.

I’m going to try and come up with some goals for 2010 and post them in the next day or so.


Goals ’09

This year ahead is exciting. Very exciting. There are a few things that are a given, and some high hopes – but hopefully when I hit the end of ’09 I’ll be able to look back and see that I managed to achieve most of the goals on my list.

So without further ado…

Get published in some way shape or form!

Move house (a given), and buy it (still have to talk to the bank).

Finish edits on Lifelines and start submitting it.

Edit Following Faith and look for a potential home for it.

Write two new novels.

Rewrite/edit/polish one of my existing novels.

Get back into playing the Sax.

Read a lot more and keep up to date on Goodreads.

Get fitter, be more active. I want to be a good role model for my girls and I don’t feel like I’m doing that at the moment.

Successfully pull off the Kiwiwriters venture being announced tomorrow.

I think that will do for now. There are other things I want to do – and I have an extensive list of monthly goals for the first half of the year. I may post those at the start each month to try and keep me on track but now is not the time.