January, Uncategorized

Shiny Maths

I’ve been doing quite a bit of tracking lately, mostly of words written and time taken. It’s been a revelation!! I’ve discovered some really interesting things.

I can write an average of 10,000 words a week.

I can write an average of 2,500 words an hour (that’s rounding down, it’s often a bit higher but I’m being kind to myself).

I’m working on averages because my life is chaotic. I homeschool three kids. I have bipolar 2 and my mood fluctuates. I homeschool three kids. Three kids who are all kind of high needs in different ways, on different days. Life is not going to get less chaotic anytime soon, so averages are a really good thing for me. Looking beyond what I did today, and instead, looking at what I did over a week, or a month, makes me feel much better about my progress. I’m so glad to have finally realized this.

Anyway, why the shiny maths?

Because math is awesome! And because when I’m trying to figure out what I can do over a year, it gives me a really good way to work out what’s achievable and what’s me being manic.

So, 10,000 x 52 – 520,000 words – WHOA. Now that seems high. I know writers who do more though, a lot more. Some people write a million words a year (one day I might be one of them).

This year is going to be a little higgedly piggeldy though. January is already full of stress (my grandmothers official funeral/life celebration coming up, the house has just gone on the market, open homes upcoming, packing, preparing for the move). February is going to be full of much of the same, with actually moving in the mix, as well as settling back into life in our old house.

So, let’s scale that word count down a bit, shall we? Let’s say, 430,000.

Dang, that’s still a good chunk of words.

I’ve got some really fun ideas about how to spend them too, such as:

SunTouched_ECover_10-8-15v2Finishing the series that I started with Sun Touched. This has to be the book I am most asked about, probably because it’s now my only incomplete series. I promise I’m working on it! I’m going to be reading Sun Touched again in the near future and marking it up with lots of notes about what comes next. I had plans for a few more books, but I want to reconnect with the story before I determine just how long the series will be.

Publishing the series that begins with Butcherbird. I’m in LOVE with this series. I’ve written book one as well as a shorter piece that I’ll be giving away for free to subscribers in the near future. I’m already planning book two, and will probably do a trilogy to begin with. Think horror elements, family – by blood/by choice, demonic possession, birds. Lots of birds. Alcohol.

Starting a new series in a shared world! I’m really excited about this, and my main character, Juniper, is ITCHING to be written. I’m going to dip my toes into this one soon and I can’t wait. Juni is so many things that I’m not, and I can see she’s going to kick my ass on the page, and off. In a good way though. I think she’s here to teach me a few tough lessons. Think old gods, dark hungers, kick-ass women, violence, and humour.

I’m also hashing out the details for some potential co-writing with a good friend of mine, and ideas for another series (or three?). The ideas are coming thick and fast lately!

Despite all the change that’s about to crash into my life, despite a bunch of stuff being up in the air, I’m feeling really alive – invigorated – when it comes to my writing.

2018 is going to be a hella good year, people. Let’s make it so.

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authors, interview, life, reading, writing

A Few Assorted Things

Hey! Long time no blog right? I’ve been having a bit of a rough patch and everything is a tad hard right now. I’m in the final slog of my Post Grad Diploma (6 weeks to go!!! maybe less, I’m trying not to think about that too hard!). There isn’t an awful lot of the good writing stuff going on while I try to hold myself together and knock out final assignments, but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t wait to get there!!!

So in the meantime, here are a couple things you might be interested in!

The lovely Leigh K. Hunt has Tijuana Nights, the first book in her Nights series, for free at Amazon right now! GO grab it quick because I think it closes really soon. 

Also, the Audio version of Baby Teeth is out now thanks to the awesome people at Dynamic Ram Audio Productions! If you have something creepy a kid has said to share, go comment on this post to have a chance to win your own copy!

And finally, I’m sharing a link for a post I’ve not read the entirety of, but it’s an interview with Beth Morey who is a very talented artist and writer. Her fierce determination to grow and become, and her passion for life are things I find really inspirational. Plus, she’s just a great person. 

I hope everyone else is doing great! I’m hoping to have some fun writing related stuff to share with you in the near future, but for now it’s back to the grindstone – hey, maybe I can finish these last assignments early? lol How can it almost be the end of August?? 

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!

Uncategorized

Go on, scare me

Send tendrils of terror down my spine, make me shiver in anticipation. Make me fear the shadows and swear I saw creatures darting at the corner of my vision.

Better yet, make me look at the ones I love and wonder if maybe, just maybe, they are harbouring some deep secret, some sick fetish, some twisted desire.

I started reading horror pretty young, and I devoured everything I could get my hands on. My mother has always said that she has no idea why I enjoy it so much, so I guess that’s something I didn’t get from her. My body might be sitting in the summer sun by the pool, but my mind would be deep within the woods, following the trail of hooves back to a cabin only to discover that the black horse who had been slaughtering people was my betrothed (I think I was about 13, and I still remember that story).

I guess it’s just the way I’m wired. I’m that girl who jumps at everything in the movies, the one who shrieks a little from fright even when its just a fake (the door swings back but theres actually no-one behind it, kind of thing). There is nothing like fear to make you feel alive, at least that’s my belief.

When it comes to writing, I don’t shy away from horror, though I wouldn’t say it’s my area of expertise. I prefer the stuff which makes you think, leaves you feeling disturbed rather than straight out blood and gore. That doesn’t scare me so much.

Vampires, werewolves and all that jazz? Are they really horrific? Some would say that it’s not their fault, it’s just their nature. They’re predators and so I can’t really hold the killing thing against them. Men though? That’s where the real scary lies for me. Sometimes the things you need to be worried about most are the ones that look just like you or I.

I’d have to say that the character that scared me the most in any movie so far has been Captain Vidal from Pan’s Labyrinth, that man is one freaky mo-fo (okay, I just came back after some time away and saw I wrote ‘mo-fo’…. that doesn’t often happen. I blame sleep deprivation). It’s a beautifully made movie, you should definitely watch it if you like beautiful freaky stuff.

I’m sure I had something deep and profound to say, but it’s been lost amid growth spurts and under the weather children.

I think horror is a little bit the odd child out in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror threesome. It attracts a certain crowd, and is certainly looked down upon by some, and others avoid looking in its direction at all. But fear is one of the most powerful emotional responses, one our system has built into it – perhaps that is why such a big portion of people do stay away – and for this reason I think it’s something that should be considered in every piece of writing, no matter the genre. Perhaps this is why I love horror so much – it’s when people are scared out of their wits and put in horrifying situations that their true nature can really shine.

Anyways, I’ll leave it at that. I can’t think of anything really intelligent to say right now anyways 🙂

This is my 6th and final post for New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week. It’s been a blast.

Uncategorized

Masters of Horror Anthology!

This is the cover for the Anthology my story is in – due for release sometime in April all going well. The Anthology is being brought to you by Triskaideka Books, with submissions coming from the Masters of Horror group.  The official line up is shown below, and I’ll be adding links to the writers throughout the day when I get some time.

1. Joseph Mulak Wounds

2. Angel McCoy The Barnes Family Reunion

3. Carole Gill Truth Hurts

4. Cassie Hart Its all in the cards

5. Marty Young Firelies of the Bushfire

6. Jennifer Brozek Cost of Job Security

7. Scott M. Goriscak Home Sweet Home

8. Karen Johnson Mead One Day

9. Lee Pletzers Teeth

10. Bob Morgan Jr Ladies of the Scale

11. KK Visitation

12. Larry Kokko The Clifton House

13. Jason Warden Once Seen

14. William Cook Devil Inside

15. Richard Barnes Something Unpleasant

16. Mark Edward Hall The Fear

There’s me! Number four 🙂

Cover art was created by Robert Elrod.

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Being the kind of writer I want to be

I had a rejection yesterday, one which initially made me go ‘Ug, I’m just going to ignore this story for a bit, rejection sucks’. It’s a very natural reaction to hearing that someone doesn’t want your story. (note I did not say or think that this means my story sucks, or that I suck, just that rejection does).

And then I read the rejection again, and realized that the publisher was giving me an opportunity. One which I could either take up or not, one which either way did not matter to him but I realized mattered to me. This wasn’t about the story, or whether it got published or not, it was about the kind of writer I wanted to be.

Basically the rejection said something along the lines of ‘gonna have to pass on it for now. Over all it’s a good story but I think it still needs some work. If you want to take into consideration my comments, you’re welcome to resubmit.’

And I almost didn’t work on it.

I thought to myself ‘it will probably feel worse to be rejected a second time for the same story by the same publisher’.

And then I realized that wasn’t the point. The point was that I had an opportunity to define myself as a writer and the kind of writer I really want to be is one who TRIES. One who takes critique on board, listens to those in the editorial process and adapts herself to the situation.

So I reworked the story. I made changes along the lines of what he suggested. I cut about 600 words out of 4,300ish and I feel good about how the story looks right now. Even if it gets rejected again I’m happy, because I’m NOT the girl who gives up at the first sign of failure, and I am NOT the girl who lets a rejection get her down. I will resubmit it, but I have a different mind frame this time around.

If I am completely honest with myself (and I was in this process, it was part of the learning curve) this story was never one I wrote to get published. This is a somewhat self indulgent story in that it pays some homage to the horror stories I loved as a child and teenager. I wrote it for me, not for anyone else. Since publication was never it’s purpose I don’t really have a right to get upset when someone turns it down – I only submitted on the off chance that maybe it would make it. Right now, the story fulfills the needs I have of it: I enjoy it, and I feel good about having written it.

So, in the event it gets a second rejection, I don’t think I’ll be feeling glum at all. As a result of this rejection and the comments received the story is now tighter and I feel better about it. It was a great way to test my newfound belief that you have nothing to lose by getting rejected, and I am so pleased that it’s proven true! I feel like I have gained a lot – not only a stronger story, but a stronger idea about what kind of writer I want to be.

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Taking it easy

I haven’t really blogged about writing in a few days so I figured it was time to give you all an update. I HAVE actually been writing, just quietly though and slowly, setting small goals and making sure I achieve them every day  (or at least almost achieving them! lol).

I’m working on the rewrite for a short horror story and making some decent progress. Sticking with the new outline and while I’m not loving the story just yet, I feel like I will any moment which is saying something about where I am at right now. One of the comments I got on it way back when it went through Critters a year ago was ‘You’re a good writer, but it seems to me you’re pulling your punches a little. Don’t do that’. I totally agree with the comment. I was playing safe, I wasn’t throwing myself into the story, I wasn’t bringing the horror as much as I could have and I guess I’m worried that I won’t this time around either!

There is something about horror that I guess pregnancy makes me want to avoid. When I finished the story in the first place I was pregnant, and now here I am, pregnant again and trying to rewrite it – gee, could I have chosen a worse time to pick this story in particular to work on? /shakes head and laughs at herself. Life is a funny thing.

I want to do this though, and I want to do it now. And yes, it’s a challenge but I think I’m up to it – even if it takes me the rest of the month to get it sorted. I just have to let go, and I feel like I am right there on the brink of letting go. It’s a pretty exciting place to be in.

Anyways, in other news I’m very dizzy. Not ‘blonde’ dizzy, but pregnancy dizzy. Something to do with all the extra blood flowing through my body. Blergh. And while my morning sickness disappeared a couple of weeks ago I have to make sure I keep eating at regular intervals or I start to feel a little unwell now.

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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.