Awards, Best Novella, in the spirit, publishing, Sir Julius Vogel Award, writing

In The Spirit is a finalist!

In The Spirit E-Cover_SMALL FINAL_18-11-2014I had the rather exciting news last night that In The Spirit is a finalist for ‘Best Novella’ for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards this year!

Squeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Now I wait anxiously for the full list to go up so I can see who the competition is 😉 Seriously though, I already know of two other fabulous writers with work in the category, and quite frankly, it’s just an honour to be a finalist alongside them. I feel humbled, and really grateful to make it to the finals.

Every year I use the SJV finals list as a bit of a reading list – because if something is on there, then it’s generally worth checking out. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on there this year that I haven’t read.

Anyway, that’s my excitement for the day! Hope you’re all having a lovely week so far!

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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.

in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, publishing, writing

So, I’m releasing a book soon…

Calendar_Dec1-252x300I feel like I’ve been remiss lately. Talking around the thing, but not really approaching it directly. I’m nervous, I guess. Because on Dec 1st (or thereabouts, depending on how badly I cock the process up), I’m publishing In The Spirit. My first release.

Until now, it’s been mostly excitement and preparation and anticipation, but the nerves have definitely hit. I feel like there are a million things to do, and that I’m forgetting 99% of those things. I’ve changed my mind several times over the last month about how I want to approach this, and while currently I think I’ve come to my final ‘plan’, who knows? Maybe that will change!

So, there you have it. The date has been set. Over the next week I’ll be able to show you my cover and will set up a sample and stuff. I’ll be selling it everywhere for 99c, and you can nab it for free by signing up to my mailing list (which will also be coming shortly).

in the spirit, self publishing, writing

A timely reminder

In the lead up to self-publishing my first novella I’m having all the feels. You know, joy, elation, doubt, fear. There is a bit of conflict going on internally around my desire to actually make a career out of my writing, and the desire to hide it away from the world because it’s never going to be good enough *throws forearm over eyes, drama queen styles*. J.C. Hart wants a career, Cassie want to tell everyone not to buy her book, but to wait until she has free days and just get it then. J.C. Hart loves her books and wants to share them with the world, while Cassie loves them but is sure she’s going to be the only one.

Bleck.

I do want this. I just have to get over my lifelong wallflower tendencies.

As someone said to me recently. Hurry up. Your first release is never going to be amazing, nor is it going to change the world, not even your world, get it done, figure out what you can do better and then do it again.

Well, actually, he just said ‘Fail faster’, but that was what I took away from it.

Until I actually get out there and start doing it, I’ve got no real idea of what is going to happen. I have a feeling it might be a little like having a baby – no matter how many books you read about it, or which classes you attend, you can never really be prepared. Things will be different to what you expect. I have really reasonable, low expectations, but there is no way to predict outcomes in this business.

So, I’ll focus on what I can control. Writing great books, editing them until they are the best I can make them, and then getting them out there into the world.

From: http://agbeat.com/lists/fear-failure-getting-back-horse/
life, NaNoWriMo, writing

Winning!

2014-Winner-Facebook-CoverI am officially a winner of CampNanoWriMo! Woo!

I actually finished off back on June 19th, but it’s been a busy week and I couldn’t ‘confirm’ the win until just yesterday.

It feels surprisingly good, like perhaps I’m getting better at this whole goal setting thing. I’ve already sent it out to some readers and feedback so far has been good – this novella will be published towards the end of the year, and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

It’s a rather more ‘fun’ read than a lot of my work, so I’m looking forward to showing you all a lighter side of me 😉 I can do funny! No-one dies! Well, not really… Okay, not going to say any more because it’s just a novella and I don’t want to give too much away just yet.

Can’t wait 🙂 This story had me laughing out loud as I rewrote it, and I really hope that those who read it will do the same. More on that at a later date.

Hope you’re all having a good month! Not long until August is upon us now 🙂

NaNoWriMo, writing

I keep saying I’m not going to, but…

2014-Participant-Twitter-Header-2Yup. I did it again. Despite flopping big time at the April CampNano, and NaNoWriMo last year, I’ve gone and signed up for the July round of camping.

I know, I know…

But this time it’s different, I swear. This time they have personalized cabins!!! A large part of my dropping out in April was due to the fact that my cabin was pretty quiet and I wasn’t getting any kind of ‘fun’ vibe going on. They’ve finally implemented a system where you can hand pick your cabin mates, and let me tell you – it’s going to be a joy writing alongside these peeps. I’m really looking forward to it.

Of course, back in April I also didn’t have anything that I desperately wanted to work on, which was problematic. This July, however, I have a plan! I’ve got a Christmas themed novella that needs revising, and I am going to take this month to knock it into shape – I’m super excited because I’m planning on releasing this in time for Christmas this year! Fun! Yay!

Now, there is every chance that once again I will fail – but right now, anything that helps me move forward is an opportunity I’m going to take. At least with camp you can adjust your goals, and there is a lot less pressure than November. Anyway, it’s July, and I have writing to do! Might as well try and ‘win’ something else while I’m at it 😉

writing

An abundance of M’s

Today I’ve been trawling through every file on my computer, Dropbox and Google drive in an attempt to find  something I started writing 3+ years ago. I remembered that it had been an attempt to write something with more of an ‘action’ feel to it, and that it began as an exercise in a creativity workshop thing I was doing just prior to Natalie’s birth – I’d been too tired, too scared, too anxious about trying to write something novel length since Lauren was born, and this particular piece, stemming from a dream I’d had, was a perfect way to cautiously approach a novel.

Of course, I never finished it, because life with a newborn, a 20 month, and a 5yr old is actually kind of insane.

But I thought about it today as I’m in a weird place in life right now – I have some spare time, but I have to start work on another assignment really soon, I have no pressing deadlines hanging over me (for uni, or anything else), and I want to write, but have nothing in progress as such. I’ve finished the drafts of three novellas this year, but I don’t have the time right now to revise any of those, and there isn’t much point in stressing myself out about that right now because I don’t plan on releasing those until late next year…

So naturally my brain went back to that other time when I was in limbo, waiting, and wanting something to play with. And this novel was the thing.

It has zombie babies, and regular zombies too. I’m on a bit of a kick right now and a friend recently said to me ‘you should write your own zombie novel’, so it was inevitable that my brain latched on that old idea.

I never titled this piece, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember the main characters names, so I went digging through every forgotten file, every ‘untitled’ document I could find.

And I didn’t find the story initially*. What I did find was that I have a ridiculous tendency to give my female leads names that begin with M. Overwhelmingly so. I had no idea!

Madea is the MC in Sun-Touched, and then we have Melanie from Surplus to Requirements, there is Melody in The Way the Sky Curves, and Moana in Shell and Bone. And then we have Meredith, Marama, Meagin, Megan, Marie, and Melissa from various short stories. And finally, Matilda in the Zombie Baby novel. Yes, I’m just going to call it the zombie baby novel for now. I literally have no idea where the story is going, though I’m sure I’ll have a blast finding out.

Not ALL my novels have M’s in the lead – Delaney is in charge in Saving Tomorrow**, and Lyssa is the female lead in Chasing Ascension… Gah! That might be it? Lord help me. I have an obsession with M names. Someone stage an intervention, right now. I’ll have to go out of my way to pick ANY other letter of the alphabet the next time I start a novel. Well, Samantha is the lead in my next novel, so at least she’ll kind of balance things out…

Save me?

Next time I start something new, I think I’ll put it to you to choose the letter the name begins with, because I need help. Obviously.

*I did find the first couple of chapters, thank goodness, but only because I’d emailed them to Anthony and I hadn’t deleted that email. I’m so pleased that my inbox seems to hold EVERYTHING from FOREVER ago. Apparently sending your stories to other people is the best back up method after all!

** It appears I might also have a thing for titles that begin with S… 

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And it’s done

The first draft of Shell and Bone is complete at 23, 532 words.

A few facts about it:

Things kick off with a kiss and they end with a kiss too.

One of the main characters could easily be considered a ‘bad’ character, though she has really great reasons for her actions and others come to see that too – though I found it hard to write and kept wondering whether the reader would find a way to love her too. We’ll see, I guess 😉

Stuff happened that I had not planned. The characters didn’t come out like I had intended, they did things I didn’t expect them too – and that is awesome.

I think it contains the most boring and bleck scene I have ever written – and yet that scene gave me the key to the first scene of the next book in the series, so no matter how painful and ugly it was to write, it was totally worth it (even if none of the original words survive the rewrite).

It’s a hot mess. And I love it.

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Going Camping

Last night I had a fun catch up with some of my writing group: Google hangouts + wine + writer friends = total win. Somewhere between the middle and end of my 2nd glass of wine someone mentioned Camp NaNoWriMo and it sounded like a terribly good idea. 

I mean, I DO want to write the second novella in this series next month. I might not have done an outline yet, but there are ideas there… I’m sure I can find time to jot some more notes down before June ends and July rolls around. 

So, yes. I signed up. 

I’ve stayed clear of most things NaNo for a few years now, unable to really manage the larger goal of 50K in a month with small kids exerting their tyrannical will on me. Of course, the beauty of Camp NaNo is that you can set your own word count goals (I’ve put mine at 20K), and still be considered a winner. I’m actually kind of excited! I really need to kick another first draft out and writing alongside my group will be awesome fun.

Are you going camping in July? 

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A good week

This week has been a really good week. Despite us all having colds I am making excellent progress on this revision (only 10 scenes to go!). We’ve been doing lots of fun learning about lizard, more specifically monitor lizards, even more specifically the komodo dragon. I got to introduce the kids to Steve Irwin and we’ve watched his komodo dragon episode like once a day for the last three days. EXCELLENT I say.

Have been planning my youngest’s 3rd birthday party as well which is fun. I love hearing her input. She wants a blue dinosaur cake, a pinata, macaroni cheese, savaloys and sauce, and lemonade, and that’s pretty much it. In all her sweetness, she has made sure to invite all her family members – it’s lovely to have that confirmation that these are the people she loves the most.

I’ve started putting scenes from my novella out for feedback, which has been fun and means I am going over all the beginning scenes again, so it’s kind of like a double revision round, I guess. I’m really liking the way it’s coming together this time, so fingers crossed it won’t need too much more work. I know I could spend weeks poring over it, getting every sentence perfect, but who has time for that? Onwards!

This week has also seen me finish off a short story, which was a lot of fun. I haven’t done ‘creepy’ in a long time. I’d forgotten a) how much squick factor can be involved and b) how much fun it is watching someone as they read your story and just knowing which bits they are up to when they cringe or wince or just look terribly troubled. Muahaha.

Oh, AND I got to okay the ‘galley’ for my short story. That is always so cool! I love seeing how my story will look in the book, it makes me crazy happy!

If all of those things haven’t been wonderful enough, the timetable for Au Contraire was released and I’ve looked through it many times, imagining how my weekend away is going to go. Too much fun!

So, I am one very happy writer at the moment 🙂 Everything is ticking along beautifully – long may it continue. I hope you’re all having a good week too!