Mon- Ah, Wednesday round up!

Apparently I am now that person who posts sporadically and can’t even remember when Monday is. Maybe it’s just that things have been so busy and I have SO many balls in the air right now that I just can’t keep track of where I am. The list is large.

It feels a little ridiculous actually, that I am feeling this stress. The NZ Independent Book Festival isn’t until the first weekend of October – AGES away – and yet in order to make sure I have print books for it, I need to be organized way in advance of that (or spend a fortune getting books here with faster shipping). I’m opting for being organized. I am on track (which never ceases to amaze me), and yet there is this fear that the books won’t be here on time. I hope that after I have done this once, I will feel a little less anxious about the whole thing.

Which brings me to the status updates. I’m just going to list things, because there are a few!!

20150803_203741Burn is just about ready to order. The print proof arrived with a friend and it looks beautiful ❤ Can’t wait to get my hands on copies.

Sun-Touched is FINISHED. I literally just need to write the blurb, format the thing and get the cover sorted and then I’ll pick a release date. YAY!

I now have a spiffy new imprint name, and a gorgeous logo to go with it (designed by an amazing friend), which I will unveil in the very near future.

I have banners and stuff being designed by the eternally wonderful Kate over at Dwell Design and Press, and they are beautiful!

I finished all the editing and proofing jobs in my queue! This has never happened before. I am enjoying a few days off, as there was a lull in my personal workload as well. I’ll have my next job incoming on Friday and I am (strangely) looking forward to getting to work on a new project. I will also really like getting paid as it means I can order the next lot of books 🙂

Which reminds me, the print formatting for The Way the Sky Curves is also nearing completion! I’m just waiting on that cover as well (working Kate VERY hard right now, poor thing. I owe her a nice bottle of wine or something after this).

It’s ALL on right now. I can barely keep track of what needs doing, but I *think* I’m managing to get everything done. I just hope something doesn’t smack me upside the head that I’ve failed to think of… And, well, with different projects coming to the end of various stages, it is pretty exciting in general 🙂

Kotahi Bay, publishing

The Way the Sky Curves is now LIVE!

The Way The Sky Curves_ECover_8-5-15Well, I’ve done it again… Published a book that is. The Way the Sky Curves is now available on Amazon. I’ll be working on getting it up at other distributors in the near future, but this feels like enough for one day 🙂

I’m so thrilled that it’s finally out there! And now I can move onto the next project.

As I mentioned in April, now that it’s out there, I’ll be doing a draw for one lucky person to win a guest role in one of the K’Bay books. There are only three entries at the moment, so head on over and comment on THIS POST if you want to go into the draw.

And finally, this happened on twitter the other night:

It was the last scene I worked on for the book, but was NOT the last scene in the book. If you read the book and want to take a guess, drop me an email. If you get it right, I will gift you a copy of the next book in the series.

A-Z challenge, Kotahi Bay, publishing, writing

X is for eXpectations

X is a funny letter, isn’t it? I was thinking about doing X-rated, but we’ve covered edgy and intimacy already this month, so I thought I would go for something a little different.


I feel a little bit of weight on my shoulders with The Way the Sky Curves. It’s the first proper book in the Kotahi Bay series, but it’s not the first book published that is set in this world. I worry that readers who liked In The Spirit won’t enjoy Sky, because one had zero romance, and the other does. I fear that I’ve made the tone too different, and then try to reassure myself that every book is meant to be a little different because the main characters are not the same. They shift and change with the natures of the leading characters.

I’m so pleased that this book was written before I published In The Spirit, as I think it would have been harder doing it the other way around. But I’m still nervous about publishing it because what if I’ve forgotten to include something? lol What if it doesn’t live up to peoples expectations?

Well. What if, indeed. I can’t please everyone, right? And while I am responsible for crafting as good of a book as I can, I have no control over what other people think or feel about it. So I need to shake off the weight of expectations – which, let’s be honest, are mostly in my head and have certainly NOT been placed on me by anyone else – and focus on finishing up the final bits and pieces and getting this thing out to you ASAP.

Burn, change, Dwell Design & Press, publishing, website

Website make-over!

firewordsI’ve had a make-over! Late yesterday afternoon I handed control of my website to my very good friend and designer Kate from Dwell Design & Press. It was time for a change. I have been meaning to revamp things for ages, but just didn’t have the time or inspiration for it. When Kate offered, I jumped at the chance, and stepped back so she could work her magic without my interference 😉

And I LOVE it. Take a look around. Let me know what you think – feel free to let me know if there is anything you’d like to see on the site that isn’t here now. So exciting! I am sure there will be tweaks still to come, but it’s just so lovely to have a fresh looking space.

On the home page you’ll find a sign-up for my newsletter. I’m planning to kick that off in the next week or so – monthly updates, yo! Again, if there is anything you love to see in newsletters, let me know. I’m going to have fun with it and am keen to hear your suggestions.

In other news, Burn is back from the proofreader and I am going to work through the changes and hopefully get the formatting done today while I am out at my library session for the week. I can’t wait to release that book, and will probably bring you a snippet tomorrow while I wait for Amazon to make the e-book available.

All the good things 🙂 So many good things.

Hope you have/had an excellent Valentines day. Sending you all a little bit of love.

Burn, in the spirit, January, Kotahi Bay, publishing, round-up, The Way the Sky Curves, writing

January round-up

It’s February!!!!! A whole month of 2015 has already passed us by, and wow, it was a busy one. I’m thinking if I can keep January as ‘busiest month of the year’ that would be nice, and if I can manage even half the productivity, this year is going to be awesome.

A quick break down of how I spent my time:

Edited: 3 novels and one novella.
Critiqued: 2 novels and one MA book.
My stuff: finished the 1st draft of a novel, plotted out the rest of the Kotahi Bay series, edited Burn, began final edits on The Way the Sky Curves.
Read: 9 books on GR and a couple more besides. NINE!!!!!!!! And I only set my goal at 40 for the year.

On top of that we still had home school trips, catching up with old school friends, lots of swimming and exploration, lots of fun times with the kids. January was a really busy month, but it was completely awesome as well. I’m not interested in being *quite* that busy again for a couple of months, but it feels amazing to have started out the year so well.

I also made a few tweaks to my site the other day, changing the Books tab around so that there are pages for each current series, as well as adding an In Progress page at someones request – apparently, he couldn’t keep track of what went where and how they connected! Sorry if I confused anyone else. I want to do a complete overhaul of the website, but that might have to wait until I move to a self hosted one – if you have any suggestions, or things you’d like to see on my site, please feel free to let me know 🙂

Oh, and I found out yesterday that In The Spirit was nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel award for Best Novella! Thank you, kind reader! That was really lovely. I may not make the final ballot, but it was pretty awesome to get that email. While I’ve co-won an SJV before for editing an anthology, this is my very first nomination for something I wrote, which makes it pretty special.

So, what does February hold??

Oh so many things!

BURN_Final E-cover_JC HARTFirstly, releasing Burn. Gosh I can’t wait!! I don’t have a release date yet, as I’m waiting to get it back from proofers, and need to go over it again myself before I can set that. But it will definitely be February.

I’m looking into doing a limited print edition of Burn because I’ve had a few requests. I’ll also look at doing a small run for In The Spirit for the same reason. It would be kind of nice to have a copy of my own too, just for giggles – I’ll blog about it before I go ahead just in case anyone wants to order a copy.

I’m hoping to get through this final big edit of The Way The Sky Curves and have that ready for a final reader by the end of the month. It should only need a few tweaks, copy-editing and then proofing before it’s ready. I was worried before I dove in a few days ago, sure that it was going to need a lot more work, but it’s a great story! I’m going to become a broken record ‘I love my WiP so much!’ lol, I seem to say the same thing for every WiP.

I’ve got a few editing jobs lined up as well, and plan on doing a lot more reading. It’s the first February in a long time that I’ve not been gearing up for study, which is a bit weird, but also wonderful.

I hope January and 2015 in general is treating you kindly – here’s to an awesome February!

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.

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’*.

in the spirit, life, publishing, study, writing, year in review

2014 Round-Up

It’s that time when people start to gather their thoughts on the year that was and plan ahead for what the new one will bring. I love this kind of thing, so I went digging for my goals post from the start of this year to find out what ridiculous and out there plans I made.

I was pleasantly surprised that I’d been kind to myself. That I had been wise enough to know that study alone would be testing me to my limits.

And it did. In just about every way possible. It’s the first year of study that has ever broken me. I cried far more than I have possibly ever, sometimes for days at a time. There were weeks when every conversation brought me to tears. I very nearly quit. I used the university counselling services for the first time ever.

The content of the courses undid me in a number of ways – personally, culturally, mentally, emotionally – and it was an epic struggle to try and put myself back together again let alone complete the courses. Towards the end I was an anxious, paranoid, depressed wreck who wondered if she would ever get to the end. But I did it. I finished. I passed everything and maintained a B average despite my struggles. I’m once again a functioning human being, though there are still journeys to be made in order to finish working through the crap that study brought up for me. It’s probably a case of it just being a part of life now – questioning and growing and changing. Accepting the bits of me that have felt for a long time like they were deal breakers or unacceptable in other ways. All work I’ve been doing to a lesser extent for some years now, but brought into sharp focus for me this year.

But I made it! I met my major goal which was to complete my Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Guidance and Counselling), and I’ll be graduating in May next year 🙂 Fuck yeah! I totally earned the right to celebrate and possibly for the first time (academically) I feel like I EARNED this. I BLED for this qualification. And I am rightfully proud.

Despite not setting myself any firm writing goals, I kicked myself repeatedly about the fact I wasn’t making any progress with it. I did some editing on my own work, but couldn’t seem to summon the creativity required to lay down any new first drafts while doing academic stuff. The two just don’t mix well for me. I accepted this about halfway through the year and cut myself some slack. Instead of worrying about writing I focused on editing and kicked In The Spirit into shape, leading to my next big achievement for 2014.

I published my first book.

It might only be a novella, and it may only be available in digital formats but that doesn’t detract from the fact that I have stepped out into the Indie publishing world, and am taking control of my career.

While I started off the year focused on trying to find a traditional publisher, it didn’t take long for me to change my mind. I’d always intended to self pub something, In The Spirit seemed like the perfect first foray. But the more I read about it, thought about it, talked about it with other authors, the more I realized that right now what I want is control of my work, my career. I don’t want to keep waiting for someone else to say yes to me, I want to say ‘YES’ to myself. I want to be doing, not just waiting on the sidelines. This decision was pivotal in getting any work done at all, because it wasn’t until I firmly decided that I wanted to do it that I was able to get organized – amazing how motivating it is knowing that you’re the only one responsible for your success.

A lot of other things happened in 2014. I edited for a number of other people. Read far more works in progress than published novels. Was infinitely busy with the kids and home schooling. Managed to maintain some semblance of sanity and normalcy despite the massive ruptures study created for me. Despite the fact it was a hard, hard year I can finish it off knowing I achieved what I set out to, and then some. I am still here, still strong, still moving forward, despite everything. I survived.

And you know what? That feels pretty bloody amazing.

authors, in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, New Zealand, publishing, reading, self publishing

Officially Published!

In The Spirit is now available for purchase. WOO! (You can find links here)

When the email came through from Amazon yesterday afternoon I had one of those goofy ear-to-ear grins. It was displaced after people told me that they still couldn’t get it… but, it’s all done now and people have it on their devices, and one of my old gaming buddies has even read it already!!! AND she enjoyed it and wants more. So, YAY! (Huh, since writing this, I’ve heard from several more people who have read it now too – yay!)

I have more. Lots more. There will be at least another 4 books set in Kotahi Bay – full novels, that is. I may write some more novellas, but we’ll see how we go 😉

Anyway, enough about me! You must be so sick of seeing my cover that I thought I’d share some others with you. A bunch of my writing crew have been publishing work just this week, so here’s a shout-out to them in order of release dates:

Richard Parry brings you his second book, Upgrade:

Mason’s job is simple: company asset protection and acquisition, no questions asked. He’s good at what he does, and it’s given him everything he’s ever wanted. The best looks money can buy, the spacious apartment that only comes with knowing the right people, and top shelf bionics from Apsel Federate. When he meets a lost girl from a dying world, an off-grid rock star, and a slave lord who wants to own them all, he needs to remember what the life he lives has taken away. Lost to corporate interest and the soft line between incentive and crime, Mason is trying to learn what it means to be truly human.

I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my summer reading list. It’s a hefty tome, and going off how much I enjoyed his first book, Night’s Favour, I know I’m gonna love this.

Next up we have Catherine Mede, with her debut novel Cursed Love, a romance set in our lovely New Zealand.

A family curse.
A lifetime of grieving
Jinny Richards past and future are about to collide. Will she survive?
At 18, Virginia ‘Jinny’ Richards was a drug addict who fell in love with Dean Bradford. By 20, Dean was dead. Jinny believes the family curse is to blame, and never wants to fall in love again. She has worked hard to hide her past and now has a job as a successful Insurance Assessor.
Ethan Montgomery lost his wife to breast cancer. He’s mourned for three years and now he’s ready to move on. He understands Jinny’s pain but he wants the feisty Jinnyand nothing, not even a curse, will stand in his way.
When work throws them together, loving Ethan is the farthest thing from Jinny’s mind. He’s tardy and egotistical, even if he is good looking and makes her weak at the knees.
Things get further complicated when Steven Bradford turns out to be the client, bringing up the heartache and pain Jinny has carefully buried for eighteen years.
Will she find love a second time around? Or will the family curse claim another victim?

And that brings us to my release day buddies: T.G. Ayer, releasing the fourth installment, Dead Wrath, of her Valkyrie novels.

Ragnarok is upon the worlds, and the time to fight is now. They come from all of the Nine Realms. Dark Elves, Dragons, Frost Giants, Elves … They all come to fight for Odin.
And they answer to Valkyrie Brynhildr.
While Bryn grieves, struggling to cope with Sigrun’s death, she knows too there is no time for tears. Odin is still a shade of himself and though there is no sign of Loki in all of the Nine Realms – Thor knows he is hiding in Midgard. As the Warriors gather, Bryn must head the offensive and enter the Human Realm in search of the Trickster and his henchman.
The war is silent and it rages all across the planet.
Ragnarok is here …
In this, the 4th thrilling instalment in the Valkyrie series, Bryn takes the war to home turf. From New York to London, Interpol to CIA, Bryn and her team risk their lives to stop Loki. And to prevent the end of the world.
And, last but not least, Michael Wayne Griffith, with his debut novella, The Runaway Train, which introduces the main character from his future series, Selena Montana.
On the verge of leaving Montana to join the FBI, Detective Selena Marrenger is dragged into one last case when a boy vanishes into the creeping fog around a bus station. With her partner, Kathryn, the two embark on a mission to uncover the mystery behind the young boy’s disappearance. When the suspects begin to pile up, the investigators discover a hidden truth far more sinister than they could have imagined.
The clock is ticking. Will Selena find who is responsible before it’s too late?
Right, and that’s me for the morning! Hope you’re having a great December 🙂
in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, publishing, writing

And then it was live

So, In The Spirit is now available for pre-order at Amazon, Kobo and I am working on the other places.

I spent the bulk of yesterday battling with formatting and then uploading to various distributors, which took me a ridiculous amount of time because it’s all so new to me. My hands shook and my knees literally felt weak as I hit the button to complete the process at my first stop, Amazon.

I’ve been writing for a long time and telling stories for longer. Words and other worlds have always been a part of who I am. I’ve been published before now, short stories online and in anthologies, but never anything longer, never on my own. So this whole thing has been like achieving a dream, ticking something off my bucket list. It’s surreal, and scary and amazing.

Today has been pretty epic because I’ve had this massive outpouring of support and encouragement. Friends have been sharing my links, and spreading the word and pre-ordering – not because I asked them (I didn’t) but because they want to support me. It’s overwhelming. I feel…kind of lost for words. I don’t even need to check my pre-orders page to feel like I’ve achieved my goals because it’s not about the sales volume. Having that support and encouragement, seeing my friends and family have my back? That’s priceless. Better than any profit I could make.

So, thank you. All of you.