It’s all coming together.

For pretty much all of my writing career I’ve felt like I was on the back foot, always 50 steps behind where I should be, constantly getting things wrong and without a shit show in hell of getting it right.

Ha! Oh gosh, I have been so cruel to myself in the past. But not anymore.

I don’t think it’s that anything has particularly changed in the exterior world – the only real difference is inside myself. I’m looking at things differently these days, and while I will no doubt still make mistakes, I can see that actually, I’m not doing too badly. In fact, right now, I’m doing pretty good! I feel hopeful, and happy with where I’m at.

Content. Damn, that’s a nice place to be. Not content in the ‘will never push self again’ way, but in the ‘yeah, you’re doing good, keep at it’ way. In this past month I’ve managed to get my new banner made, hired Web Wyvern to do my website redesign, step back from editing for others, and kick my FB group back into gear.

And I’m in the process of finalizing my next release, Sekhmet’s Desire. I can’t wait to share it with you all! It’s a good book and I reckon that if you’ve enjoyed any of my previous work, you’ll enjoy this as well.

Everything just feels GOOD. And it’s such a nice place to be in. I want to hold onto this for as long as possible. I want this to never go away. But I know that if I slump again, I’ll just pick myself up again, and again, as many times as I need to.


My Career, My Way

With so much changing in my day to day life – adjusting to life with chronic illness, new house, new routines (my teen has decided to give high school a go! We haven’t had this level of structure in our lives for seven years) – it’s been the perfect time to stop and assess where I’m going with my career.

Caveat: I don’t think it’s a decision you make once. I think it’s a thing you should revisit from time to time, and I think that you make the best choices for yourself at the time, and that those choices are flexible and can change depending on what’s happening both in the publishing industry, and in your own life. But I believe those choices should always be made with this question in mind: What works best for me?

It turns out that I’ve been doing a lot of things that are not the best for me. One of those has been falling into the trap of Comparisonitis, which only shows me how ‘not enough’ that I am. A dear friend sent me this link yesterday, and it was timely, because I have been slowly pulling away from comparing myself to others, and focusing on what is that I can do. And what I can’t. I’ve got my own ladder to climb, so I need to stop paying any attention to other peoples ladders.

For instance, when I get realistic, I can’t spend hours every day writing (I’m ill, I homeschool, I have a house to run, and lots of pick ups and drop offs and the like). I can’t put a book out a month (I would burn out SO fast). I can’t write to market (I tried with my Ebony series, but that didn’t go so well). I can’t be on social media tonnes (epic levels of procrastination happen when I do!).

But I can write books that I love and am passionate about, they might not fit the genres bang on, but are full of interesting and wonderful things, characters you will love or hate, worlds that you can get lost in. Books that will be released when I’m confident they are ready, never before. Books that are so me that no matter the genre, I’m sure that if you’ve enjoyed one of my books, you’d enjoy any of them (even if you have a genre preference, and don’t we all?).

And, when I am on social media? I can be my authentic self, and strive to make connections. I can be real, and raw, and open, and honest, and you will know that whatever I’m saying or doing is an extension of who I am, even if that might seem to change over time, it’s all still me.

And the whole point of this post? It’s to declare – to you, and more importantly, to me – that finally I’m embracing who I am, and letting go of all the noise in the publishing world that says that you have to do A, B, and C in order to succeed. I will be doing my best to no longer buy into the crush and rush and madness, but instead make decisions based on who I am, and what I can do.

This is my career, and I’m going to do it my way.

becoming, books, change, Uncategorized

Coming clean

I’m currently in the process of doing a massive overhaul of my writerly systems, part of which includes a website update coming soon, but right now, I need to announce something that I’ve been hiding in the shadows…

You see, a little over a year ago I was not in a very good place; if you’re a regular here you might have picked up on that lol. I’d been really depressed, exhausted, in pain – for a long time. We now know that was/is Fibromyalgia. At the time, I didn’t. I just knew shit wasn’t good. We were gearing up to move home, Nana had died, I was overtaxed on so many levels, and struggling with my mental health as well as my physical health.
So, I ran away from it all in the best way that writers know how.

I started a secret penname.

Have you recovered from that news yet?

I know, I know, I’m typically a very open person, but for a time there, I needed to be someone else. I needed to not be Cassie, to not even be J.C. Those people had done cool things, had some fans, had people waiting on books. Those people had expectations hanging over them; and yes, those were mostly placed by myself (I can own that), because when you’re already struggling, it’s super easy to smother yourself in guilt.

So, I became Nova. I basked in anonymity, and somewhere along the line, realized that actually, she’s as much me as J.C. is. Neither are false, but Nova gave me a new name to hide behind, a name that meant nothing to anyone but me. Allowing me to write whatever the hell I wanted to write. To be bolder than I had been in the past.

These are good things to embrace.

Thankfully, this past eight months or so has seen a lot of awesome transitions for me. I’ve been able to develop my writing via the amazing opportunity that is Te Papa Tupu. I’ve had my diagnosis and have been able to work on my health to the point where things are okay most of the time. I’m always tired and in pain, but I can handle that. And, I’m on amazing meds that have the dulled the poison-tipped claws of my mental health beast so that it’s only a small thing that mewls in the corner of my brain, rather than sitting on a throne admiring its handiwork.

Which brings me here. To the point at which I also realize that running two pennames entirely separate is completely ridiculous for a person such as me, and also, where I finally feel like I can bring the two together; bring all of me together. The only difference moving forward is that J.C. will be focused on NZ based fiction, and Nova will be responsible for writing all the other things. And it will all be here. Somewhere.

From now on I’ll be finding a way to make this place all about Cassie. Because it’s all, always, been just me. And my pennames can flit around doing exactly what they feel like. Which is going to be interesting, and fun.

If you’d like to check out what I’ve been up to, you can start with this freebie – the first book in the series is coming out soon (if you like adventure, Egyptian gods, and magic, it might be a thing for you) – and this novella is a prequel to that, involving the mythical Fountain of Youth.