Kotahi Bay, Uncategorized, writing

Tūrangaewawae

A few weeks ago I read through my draft for the second Kotahi Bay book, Beneath Broken Waves, and it felt like coming home. There are really no other words to describe it. I couldn’t stop grinning. I knew these characters intimately, I knew the town so well, it was like kicking around a familiar neighbourhood and seeing a bunch of familiar faces.

Not long after that we went to a homeschooling camp and got to hang out with a huge portion of our crew from back home and it was fabulous, but then I had to come back here, to my new home, without them. And that sucked.

I’m homesick in a pretty big way. And I’ve really struggled to make myself work on Beneath Broken Waves. In fact, it was only a couple days ago that I actually started to make progress, and that was only due to finally making the extremely obvious connection – Kotahi Bay is like home, and any thoughts of home induce massive waves of sadness for me right now. No wonder I don’t want to work on the bloody book!

At the launch of Serafina’s Flame last weekend a friend told me he was surprised about the move because he’s always thought of Taranaki as my tūrangaewawae. If you’re not familiar with this concept here’s a handy link, but basically it translates to ‘a place to stand’. And he’s right, Taranaki is my tūrangaewawae. It’s where my family is, where I have lived the longest, but those aren’t the things that make it my place to stand, it’s hard to put that into words.

backbeach

I didn’t appreciate it like that when I was a teen – desperate to get out and experience the world – but I did when I came home again in my mid twenties. My maunga was always there, a steady figure that dominates the landscape even when obscured by clouds. The beaches with their black sand and their wild coastal winds. The forest, the birdlife, the raw power you can feel in the area. My tribe of family, both blood and those I’ve chosen.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized how important the concept of tūrangaewawae is to the Kotahi Bay books, but I do now. And even though it might hurt to do the work I’m going to pour my feelings into these books and hope that it pays off. And maybe I’ll find a way to ease the pain in my heart and a new way of standing.

Advertisements
Burn, February, in the spirit, Kotahi Bay, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves

All the things

There are so many stories running through my head. So many. Not just mine, but all the stories by authors I have been editing recently as well – a huge range: contemporary, thriller, mystery, MG, science fiction. In fact, I’ve taken about a week off from editing in general just to try and dull the clatter in my brain.

BURN_Final E-cover_JC HART
Sick of seeing it yet?? I don’t think I ever will be!

Well, editing other than my own, anyway.

Final edits on Burn are now complete and the MS is off with the proofreader. I’m both nervous and excited to bring it to the world – as pure fantasy, it’s quite different to In The Spirit. There is none of the lightness and laughter that my first release had. The characters are completely different, and where Alyssa is young, a bit of a slob and maybe a tad too fond of wine, Carmel is old and weary, and never had any kind of freedom or joy in her youth. I worry that readers of one won’t like the other, but then I have to remind myself that books are allowed to have different readers, and I can trust people to read blurbs and samples if they aren’t sure. It’s not my job to stress out about it, only my job to make sure I’m telling the best stories I can – regardless of the genre.

I’ve headed straight into what will hopefully be my last major revisions on The Way The Sky Curves. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve just loaded Shell and Bone onto my Kindle so I can start reading through and making notes. I can’t believe I am THREE books deep in this series already, with just two left to write. It’s actually kind of bizarre. I’m going to be starting planning on the last two very soon – I know how it’s all going to end though!!! I’ve never seen that end picture until recently and I can’t wait to write it!

Alongside all of this are thoughts of the other book I want to publish this year. Sun-Touched is one of my favourites, and will be the first full length novel I bring out. It’s different again from the world of Kotahi Bay, and Burn. Science fiction set on a relatively newly colonized planet. I am itching to get back to Madea and do my final edits on that book. Oh, it’s going to be so good!

So, there are all the things going on right now. I’m going to need to find some new tactics for keeping the noise in my head under control. Maybe not editing four books back to back is a good idea, just for starters 😉

How is Feb treating you?

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 😉

Uncategorized

Winner!

I did it! Successfully managed to write to my goal of 20,000 words for the month, which means I ‘won’ Camp NaNoWriMo. Feeling pretty happy about that, though I didn’t quite finish writing the novella which sucks a bit. I thought I would finish it yesterday but ended up spending the entire day in bed with a crippling headache. I have codeine now though, and am actually capable of functioning a little (yay codeine!).

August is lined up to be another busy month. It’s ‘The End is Nigh‘ over at Kiwiwriters and I need to finish the first draft of Shell & Bone, and then make the beginning of Burn as good as the rest of it before submitting. And then I think it’s back to revision on ‘The Way the Sky Curves’. Which I guess makes it a month of novellas. Will be super nice to have them all at the next stage of writing though, and puts me well on the way to completing my goals for the year.

How was July for you? And what are you planning for August?

Uncategorized

Post semester slump

It happens every time. You would think I’d have a cure for it by now. A management strategy. Something to tide me over until I kick back into gear. But nope. I got nothing.

I handed in my last assignment a week ago, so am finished study for the semester. I had HIGH hopes for this lull time – for starters, I was going to rewrite/revise my novella! And then outline the crap out of novella two, before starting to write that beginning of July.

It might still happen, providing I can kick this exhaustion to the curb and get myself back on track. I think, perhaps, if the last week of my semester hadn’t sucked so much, I might be feeling different this time, but one can never really know.

For starters, 2 weeks ago my chickens were killed by stray dogs. And then I got a tummy bug. I managed to get back on my feet on Monday, only to spend Mon/Tue frantically trying to finish off my assignment and get it submitted. Needless to say, I began my mid-semester break worn out, and a week later I’m still working on finding my new groove.

I know it will come, but I can’t sit around waiting for that to happen. Who has the time for that? So, this is me saying that one week is enough. I’ve had ups and downs, and done a bit of writer wailing about what a slacker I am. Time to get back to work.

What do you do when you’re in a slump? Would love to hear how other people deal with it!

Uncategorized

April begins

The last time I blogged was an entire month ago. I don’t think I’ve ever let the blog go silent for that long, but to be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to say anything at all.

It’s been…an interesting month, I guess you would say. I started back at University and the reading workload was huge. I mean, I was swamped. I’ve finally managed to catch up, but I still don’t feel like I know enough yet. My first assignment is due in 16 days, and I am still gathering information, and wondering if I will ever get to the point where I feel caught up.

March’s main goal was to read Sun-Touched and make a revision plan for it. I read the novel! And I didn’t even cringe too much. It’s a good story but it needs plenty of work. World building is where I fall down, again, so I am doing a lot of thinking about how I can do that – not only for Sun-Touched, but also for my novella. I am planning a second in the same setting, so I really need to bring the town to life.

Between my study brain, and being faced with yet more revision, I felt a bit swamped. I didn’t write the short story that I had hoped to. I got about 1k in and canned it. Aside from that attempt I wrote nothing in March. I did play a lot of Guild Wars 2 though. I’m deep in love with it again, though am well aware that it’s escapism for me. It really helps to switch my brain off from the study stuff which seems to overtake every waking thought if I let it.

Which I guess means I am back to a place of needing to find balance. I’ve been reminded yet again that I need breaks between revision and revision (even revisions of different stories). I am sure there is a sweet spot, but I haven’t found it just yet, and the reality is that there is always going to be more revision to do than first drafting, because every story needs more than one revision. I”ll continue to mull on it anyway – maybe I need a grand story that is written just for me, and I give myself a week of free writing on it between rounds of revision? That could work. I might give it a try.

Anyway, the beginning of April sees me in a better head space. The supplements I am taking seem to be giving me the boost I needed to get out of a depressive state, and I am actually getting stuff done again which feels really good (even if none of it is writing related! lol).

I sat down this morning and said to myself – “time to quit stalling, write something”. So I am now partway through a children’s story. Totally weird that is what’s coming up, but whatever, right. Words are words! I will take them and run with the idea.

Let’s hope April is a tad more productive for me than March was! Hope you all had a lovely easter 🙂

Uncategorized

Another Month Done

I am still getting my head around the fact that it’s March already. I always seem to forget that Feb is a short month – in any event, I managed to get through the revision of my novella, which was my primary goal. Yippee!

University has officially started for the year and I’m struggling to get my head back in the study game. The readings for the first two weeks are ridiculous (6 chapters of the text PLUS articles!) but thankfully it evens out a bit after that (1 chapter a week).

So, with that in mind, I’m taking the next week or so off from revision and am going to spend the time catching up on the other things that need my attention – I have books to read, stories to give feedback on, and study to do. My next major project is also revision (Sun-Touched, my darling, I’m finally getting back to you!) and I feel like it’s important to take a breather between projects. I’m hoping to write a new short story as well, which should be really fun.

Some of my writing buddies are reading my novella this month, so I’m feeling a little nervous and excited about hearing back from them. Feels like a while since I’ve had a critique done, but I guess you get that when you’re working on longer stories.

Right, that’s it for me for now! What have you got planned for March?

Uncategorized

Updates!

I keep looking at my blog, thinking I should post something, but not really knowing where to begin. The right words have been hard to find.

So we’ll start with: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. As you might remember, I started The Artists Way back near the start of the year. I’m actually sticking with it this time and am up to Week 7. I’m learning a lot about myself, not all of it fun, but valuable even if hard at times. It’s not resulting in massive amounts of writing, though I have been revising steadily over the month (four scenes to go!). I’m changing, I can feel that, though I don’t know what form a lot of changes will take. When I can find the words to get all my thoughts down, I will.

I’ve also accepted that I have a problem, and my moods are not normal.  I’ve been feeling all kinds of things and about 10 days ago admitted that I’m not okay. I’ve been telling people when they ask, and many are shocked (those in the face to face world, anyway, my online friends don’t get my masks so much!), though at the same time pleased that I am being honest again. It’s one of the steps towards balance for me, so I’m glad I’ve taken it. I’m also taking some vitamins and other things which seem to be helping. I’ve not been back to the pits of despair since then, which is nice. Sometimes, just admitting you aren’t okay takes the pressure off. Masks are heavy, as are fake smiles, so my advice to anyone is to cast those aside.

I also had a short story accepted for publication! Was totally surprised, but delighted of course. I can’t wait til the line-up is announce and the cover revealed, though it’s been lovely seeing other writers I know and respect mentioning on facebook and twitter that they also got in. One writer friend in particular, as it’s her first sale, and she is such an awesome writer. I am so proud of her, and so pleased we’ll get to share space inside the cover of a book.

What else? I guess life is ticking along as normal. We’re still home schooling and there are great days and not so great days. I’m enjoying getting back into some renovation stuff, ticking things off my giant list. Playcentre began last week, so we’re finding a groove with that again as well. It’s a very busy term in general. Oh, and my university paper officially begins on Monday. I’ve not had a chance to read ahead yet, but that’s okay. I feel like I can handle all the things on my plate, which is more than I was feeling a couple weeks ago.

Right, better get back to that revision huh? I hope Feb has been treating you kindly. So hard to believe it’s almost over already.

Uncategorized

Raring to…

Revise!

Yes, you heard me right. I am gearing up for the great novella revision, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I know. What on earth has gotten into me? I can’t really explain it. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good bit of editing – I love cutting words, and finding ways to make things better, and cutting words, and adding more tension and all that (and cutting words – did I mention that?).

But right now, I am knee deep in the part of the process I loathe the most, and I’m more excited about it than I have ever been before. Go figure! Today I went through the novella and made scene notes, and then noted conflicts and changes, and then wrote comments on what needs improving, what needs removing, what needs moving… And came up with a pretty decent length list of things I need to do.

Strangely, this is not that different from how I normally do things. I don’t edit in order, I make lists of things to do, then usually I start with something easy (to prove that I CAN do it, and LOOK IT’S REALLY NOT SO BAD), and then I tackle something major so that I can sigh with relief and pat myself on the back for a job well done, before going back to something quick, so that I can tick something else off the list and see PROGRESS, and so on until I am sick of the sight of the thing and can’t wait to send it off to my poor crit buddies.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, about other peoples editing processes, and it’s encouraged me no end to see that HEAPS of people do it this way. I thought, for awhile, that I was basically just flailing around blindly, but it turns out that folks like Chuck Wendig and Rachel Aaron have a similar process. I’ve taken some notes from both of those articles, and incorporated them into my own process to give a try this time, as always I’m ever hopeful of finding a way to make it all run a bit smoother.

I still have to write a timeline for the novella (groan…. but I know how important this is. I mean, I’m pretty sure that at one part of my novel it’s summer and then a few days later its the middle of winter), as well as get some character info solidly on the page. A few people get a bit wobbly here and there. Gotta straighten them out.

But this story is GOOD, I really believe that. Now I can’t wait to make it BETTER.

And I think, for the first time in a long time, maybe ever (definitely ever, for a story longer than a short), I’m doing all of this before I send it to so much as a single reader. I’m super pleased with myself for that. I’m going to call that growth, and a step towards not being such a lazy writer.

Go me 🙂

Hope you’ve been having a good week!