Wow, July.

I had a much different post planned for today. Unfortunately, July decided to get really creative on me. Not only have we been dealing with a family medical emergency, but we’ve also found out that Mum, Stepdad and Grandma have to be out of their current house by December. And on top of it all–floods!

I left Thursday, planning to visit Akaroa relatives with my sister and be back Friday evening. Instead, we made it almost all the way to Akaroa through some really horrendous weather—water covering the road, pelting the windscreen, slips across the road—only to discover a tree had fallen, blocking the road, about ten minutes before we got there. We had to turn around and go all the way back to Christchurch. If we’d made it, we might have been stuck in Akaroa–the road was closed Saturday, only reopening on Sunday. I finally made it back to Mum and Stepdad’s place yesterday afternoon, a big relief. I was really worried about driving through water, but the blockages had all been cleared by the time I reached them.

Despite this series of really hard stuff to deal with, I’m actually feeling pretty positive right now. It feels much better being here in New Zealand when bad things go down than being in Japan where I was unable to help. I’m also really proud of my family’s resilience and strength. We’ve had a few hairy moments, but overall, I think we’re doing an okay job of being there for each other. I’m also really lucky for the encouragement and support I’ve received from my online friends. So yeah. Tough month, but we’re tougher.

I’ve also got something I’m really looking forward to coming up. On Thursday, barring any more disasters, I’m heading to the Marlborough Book Festival. I haven’t really spent time in Blenheim before, so I’m looking forward to the trip for many reasons.

And then I got some really good news! I submitted a Seasonal Story to NineStar Press, the third in the For the Love of Christmas series that started with The Ugliest Sweater, and continued with Ibiza on Ice. The Op-Shop Rejects Live in Concert has been accepted, and will presumably be coming out some time in December! Cannot wait.

Review: The Journal Writing Superpower Secret by Michael Forest

The Journal Writing Superpower Secret: Get Productivity Superpowers, Kill Procrastination and Stop Self-Sabotage, and Then Take Over the World

This was truly one of those right time, right place moments. I was already a fan of journalling and new that it was really helpful both in keeping me sane by putting my writing highs and lows into perspective (Joanna Penn), and also as a form of meditation (numerous books about Mindfulness). But while I new that journalling was helpful for me, I didn’t really know how to take control of it to take me further. I saw M. Caspian reviewed it on Goodreads, and when M. Caspian talks about journals, I take note. I commented on her review saying the e-book looked good. Five minutes later, it was on my kindle (M. Caspian is not only generous, but fast. Thanks again, M!).

I started reading The Journal Writing Superpower Secret the next evening, and twenty minutes into it, I was so excited, because I knew this was exactly what my journalling was missing. They keyword here is Intentional. Michael Forest takes a whole lot of things I was working on—gratitude, affirmation, goal setting—and shows you how to put them into action via a journal.

It works, too. I’ve written in my journal every day since then (I started on July 4th), and it doesn’t feel like a chore. I’m excited to write in it every morning, excited to reaffirm my commitment to my goals, and in the sprints and exercises, renew my enthusiasm by digging into why I want to achieve this goals and what they represent for me. I’ve definitely notice an increased focus since I started, and my mood has been more even overall. The only anxious busy brain night I’ve had was over non-writing related issues that I hadn’t covered in my journalling. I’m back to setting big goals for myself and feeling positive.

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Journalling in Action!

The Journal Writing Superpower Secret: Get Productivity Superpowers, Kill Procrastination and Stop Self-Sabotage and Take Over The World! 

What if a 10-minute journaling routine gave you superpowers?
The Journal Writing Superpower Secret won’t let you shoot webs from your wrists or leap tall buildings, but here is how it can help you right now:

• Gain “instant clarity” and “hyper focus”
• Identify and stop self-sabotage
• Shut out distractions, self-doubt, and naysayers

This can help you accomplish things like:

• Lose weight with an actual, honest-to-goodness healthy mindset (i.e. without driving yourself bonkers)
• Write every day
• Take over the world Accomplish your own huge, ambitious goals

Amazon: The Journal Writing Superpower Secret: Get Productivity Superpowers, Kill Procrastination and Stop Self-Sabotage, and Then Take Over the World

Reading: Sunset at Pencarrow

Regular readers of this blog will remember my interview with Anne Barwell about her release with co-author Lou Sylvre, Sunset at Pencarrow. I’m reading it now (very slowly because of a lot of family stuff that is happening), and wow. The story could not be more apt.

The two main characters meet when their flights out of Wellington are grounded because of fog.

Lead article when I took a break to check the news feed on my phone: Rotorua to Christchurch trip takes group to Auckland, 28 hours later.  The headline is a little misleading. The group is from Christchurch, heading to Rotorua–the exact same trip I’m making in August to the RWNZ 2017 Conference.

We’ve had similar headlines all week, as temperatures drop and snow fell in a lot of the South Island. Here’s hoping that Anne and Lou write a follow up novel, where the heroes have smooth flights all the way to Rotorua, is what I say.

Buy Sunset at Pencarrow.

Dreamspinner Press  | Google Books | iTunes | Kobo |Amazon| Barnes and Noble 

SunsetAtPencarrow 400x600Blurb:

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

 

 

 

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Calling NZ LGBTQ Romance Authors!

I feel really lucky in my writer friends. I’ve received incredible support, understanding and encouragement from both the M/M Romance community online, and, once I moved back to New Zealand, the New Zealand Romance Writers. I’m also really lucky in just how much information there is out there for writers online, in books and made freely available in podcasts.

That said, whenever I meet up in person with another M/M Romance writer, at one point in the conversation, one of us inevitably says ‘I thought that was just me!’ or ‘I have that exact problem!’ We’re writing for a very particular niche and coming from a very particular place which brings its own challenges. When Anne and I met up at Gotham at the start of the year, our conversation ended with the determination to create a space for Kiwi M/M authors to share their experiences so that we can all learn.

Six months later (that’s my fault, unfortunately–sorry!), it’s happening. We’ve set up a Facebook group for interested people. To get invited, just drop Anne (found here) or myself a message expressing interest. What are you signing up for? Read on to find out!


New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers

If you’re a Kiwi author primarily writing LGBTQ romance, we want to hear from you!

New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers are a group of NZ based authors who work primarily in the LGBTQ romance genre. As such, we face a number of challenges specific to our global location and writing genre. The NZRRW is a support group for us to share our experiences, ask advice from people writing for similar audiences, support and encourage each other, set and achieve goals and compare our marketing strategies.

The group consists of a private Facebook group where we share our news and resources, ask questions and give advice. Once a week, a goal post will go up, where members can post their weekly goals. At the end of the week, members can reflect on their progress, promoting accountability.

We’re looking for highly motivated members who are keen both to learn and to share their experiences in a respectful, inclusive environment. As we grow and get a feeling for what our members needs are, we may expand to include finding critique partners, creating anthologies of member’s work, online and offline write-ins, and possibly meet-ups. Any level of writing history is welcome, as are publishing methods–unpublished, self-publishing, traditional, and hybrid authors all welcome.

Founders:

Gillian St. Kevern.

Gillian writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, contemporary comedy, and is branching out into mysteries in 2017. She is published with NineStar Press and self-published, and currently based in Christchurch. She is a member of Romance Writers New Zealand, and in addition to writing, works as a freelance editor.

Anne Barwell.

Anne writes across a range of genres, although her favourites are fantasy, SF, and historical. She is published with Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications, and lives in Wellington. As well as writing, she works in a library, and plays violin in a local community orchestra, so often music has a role in her stories and/or her characters are musicians.

Cover Reveal: The Wing Commander’s Curse

If you’ve been following the progress of my Readers and Writers for LGBT Chechens Auction Winner’s Story, great news! The first draft is completed, polished, and currently with my editor and beta-readers. I anticipate sharing it with you all before the end of the month.

And it gets better. How much better you ask? Well, check this out.

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Yes, we have an absolutely gorgeous cover, and a new title!

I realise this would be more of a surprise if, you know, this post wasn’t titled ‘Cover Reveal: The Wing Commander’s Curse’ but look at it! Look at it!

An unbreakable curse.
England overrun by monsters.
Two men locked in a losing battle.

England, 1915.

Jonah Valliant longs for active service, but is stuck making coffee for the local officers. A year ago, the world errupted into magical chaos. No one knows why Britain is overrun by fearsome worms, magical creatures whose gaze turns men to stone, or how to stop them. When Jonah loses his temper with Wing Commander Mallory, he has no idea that picking a quarrel with the wizard may lead to Britain’s salvation–or its destruction.

Augustus Mallory carries more than the weight of the war effort on his shoulders. He’s the last of the Mallory wizards, feared for their power, arrogance and the dark family curse. He knows losing his heart to Jonah endangers everything Mallory cares about—but Jonah may possess the key to defeating the worms once and for all. His only hope: staving off his doom long enough to learn the secret behind the Quickening.


While the auction is over, there are still ways to help LGBT Chechens. Dale Lowry has a list of ways you can take action on his website here (scroll down to the list ‘Other Ways to Help’).

A Kind of Magic.

I love writing books. Not only is it absolutely fascinating to see how other writers write and where they get their inspiration, but as a beginner writer, I know I have a lot to learn. I couldn’t tell you how many books about writing I’ve bought and read this year. Yay, writing!

Yet, for all of my hard work and focus, I seemed to be getting stuck, and spending more time second guessing myself than I was writing or editing. A lot of that was freelance work taking up my time, but I can’t blame everything on freelance work. After all, having a full-time job in Japan didn’t stop me from writing. So what was missing?

Most of the books I’d read were focused on planning, marketing, writing fast or increasing productivity. All good things! But somewhere along the way, I lost the fun part of writing—the part where you know you have no idea what you’re doing and that’s okay. That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic is all about.

 

Gilbert believes in creativity. Not just that it’s a worthwhile way to spend your time, but that it’s transformative and a force in itself. She gives ideas agency, but doesn’t relent on hard work either. She urges embracing the many contradictions involved in the writing process (take it seriously, but not that seriously), without trying to make sense of them. Most of all, she emphasises wonder.

Most of my writing mentors are really practical, proactive people, and I have the feeling that Gilbert’s approach is too woo-woo for most. While I don’t agree with all of her conclusions, I found that her strong belief in the magical aspects of creativity touched part of me that I’d been neglecting—the wonder. And strangely, the reminder that writing should be fun is what got me back to work, while Gilbert’s acknowledgement that any creative project might fail, and that’s okay, is also tremendously freeing. While I won’t be adopting Gilbert’s approach to writing, I think that her perspective is one I’ll be returning to again and again on my writing journey.

Big Magic on Amazon: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear