life, writing

It’s all in the words you use

I am a writer.

I wrote in primary school – stories five times as long as those of my peers. I wrote in high school – every afternoon I’d get off the bus, grab some food and boot up the old computer, black screen, green type, and I would disappear. I remember printing one book off and giving it to my art teacher to read. I recall her face as I handed her the pages – you know, the one that says they will read this, but only because they want to be supportive, not because they think it will be any good. I recall her face as she handed them back – surprised that actually, it was much better than she had imagined. There was a complete story, potential.

I’ve always had a story in me, and when my cousins and I would get together to play games over the school holidays it would most often be me who picked names, ages, who filled out the back stories for the personas we’d take on. They were sprawling games, taking place all day, across my grandparents farm where we’d immerse ourselves so deeply into the story that the natural landscape was invisible, merely a backdrop to our invented lives.

My friends and family all know I’m a writer. They know it’s a part of me that isn’t going away. I’ve seen the looks on their faces too when they’ve read things, not expecting them to be good, and then being surprised. Some of them don’t like the content of my stories, but they can’t deny that they get engaged, that I can draw them into my other worlds.

So, I am a writer. This is a well known fact. It’s set in stone. It is not going to change.

But recently, I’ve changed what I am saying. Recently, I’ve begun to say not just “I’m a writer”, but, “I’m going to publish a novel later this year”, and I have been amazed by how much that changes things.

I’m not just someone who writes, someone who occasionally publishes a short story anymore (short stories don’t seem to count with a lot of people, they read NOVELS, not shorts). But I’m someone with a whole book, and people want to read it…

This has been, really bizarre, and interesting. They WANT to read this book! Most people might not even know what it’s about, but they still want a look at it. I’ve had people ask me if they’ll be able to get it in paperback or will I just be doing digital, when it will be out, and whether I can sign a copy, whether I need another reader, if I want them to review it when it’s released.

This small change in the words I use to describe what I am doing has changed everything. It’s like it signifies a transition from the act of writing (which essentially, one does by oneself so is not such a visible thing) to the act of publishing. It’s that opening of the door to finally reveal what I’ve been working on for years, and it’s scary and exciting and wonderful.

I really hope I don’t disappoint, but the fact that people are curious is really encouraging – I can’t wait to share my worlds with you all!

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Regeneration – now open for pre-order

As some of you know, I have a new short story (Carving Out a Life) being published in the very near future. Well, pre-orders for Regeneration are now open! And, the stunning cover has finally been unveiled. I LOVE it.

Here is the blurb:

Some things are gone forever; but that is not the end. There are new lives to be lived, new discoveries to be made, changes to be fought for, enjoyed, or feared.

Experience worlds where existence continues beyond death and much-wanted babies become something else entirely. Where humanity endures in hostile environments, societies adapt to new challenges and inventions, and strange creatures live secretly among us. Travel from a curiously altered Second World War to other universes at the end of time, taking in diverse visions of New Zealand and worlds beyond along the way.

Regeneration, the second volume of New Zealand Speculative Fiction from Random Static, presents 22 original works of science fiction and fantasy by Kiwi authors. Stories of loss and renewal, of fantastic technology and mysterious transformations, of supernatural predators and survivors building new futures. Life always goes on, but seldom the way you’d expect…

Featuring stories by Matt Cowens, Tim Jones, Mary Brock Jones, O.J. Cade, Grace Bridges, I.K. Paterson-Harkness, Kylie Thorne, Debbie Cowens, J.C. Hart, Jennifer Compton, Simon Petrie, Anna Smith, Rebecca Harris, Elizabeth Gatens, Jonathan James Todd, A.J. Fitzwater, Fran Atkinson, Anna Caro, Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray, Grant Stone, and Toni Wi.

I’ve read stories by many of the authors listed above, and they are fantastic writers. I’m very excited to read the stories from authors I don’t know. Random Static always put together a good antho.

If you’re in Wellington on the 12th of July, there is a launch party for the book, and I’ll actually be there! Details can be found here.

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For your reading pleasure…

My story Birth Rights is now live at Comets and Criminals!

This was the first short story I wrote, that I actually felt like I got what makes a short story work. It was the first time I had written one and thought that I would get it published. So in many ways, it was a very important piece of writing for me.

It was first published in A Foreign Country last year, and I was thrilled to find a second home for it with Comets and Criminals. It’s a quick read, but not necessarily an easy one. I hope that if you take the time to have a look, you enjoy it.

There is also a poem now available, The Museum of Incipient Flight, by Sharon Mock.

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Birth Rights

I got notice a couple of days ago that my short story ‘Birth Rights’ is going to be included in the upcoming anthology ‘A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction’, which is due for release in August.

WOOOOO!

The Anthology is being put together by Random Static, in conjunction with Au Contraire – I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

Birth Rights was the first short story I thought I would get published, and one that was a massive turning point for me in the way I feel about shorts. I can easily say that it helped me cross the barrier from feeling ‘so-so’ about them to actually enjoying them (maybe even loving them…). So to have it be included in a print anthology, being produced within my own country and full of other wonderful New Zealand writers is just amazing.

I couldn’t be happier about it 🙂