The Sub-Antarctic Islands As You Have Never Seen Them Before

Heritage Expeditions and Forest and Bird joined forces to create a limited number expedition to the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands. While doing my research for Morgen Curse I became fascinated by the sub-Antarctic islands (the Antipodes Islands, which is the setting for most of the story, are sub-antarctic islands), and so I’ve been following news of the trip.

Well, natural history film-maker James Muir was lucky enough to be able to go on the trip and made an incredible video. It’s beautiful. I was going to tell you to skip to the sub-antarctic islands at 3:56, but the shots of Antarctica are just beautiful, and the oceans…  Must watch!


The video, short as it is, really captures the isolation of these islands, and the harshness and richness of these waters—and offers a bit of insight into why Cedifor and Ieuan are the way they are. You don’t spend centuries in a place like this and not be changed by it.

Writing Resource: Hidden Traps by Judy L Mohr

I first met Judy last year at a seminar on how to get the most out of Scrivener. We’re members of the same writing circles, and I’m constantly impressed that no matter what writing topic we’re discussing, Judy is quick to offer an opinion, advice, or even a practical solution. When she asked if I was interested in getting an ARC of her non-fiction book for writers, it was a no-brainer. I said yes at once.

Having met Judy in person, I enjoyed how much of her voice came through in this book. There’s always a danger that non-fiction will be dry, but although Hidden Traps is packed with technical and often extremely specific information, it felt like I was attending a seminar rather than reading a book. Some of the information I was aware of, but a lot was new—and more than once, I put the book down to go and act on the information I’d just read.

Although called ‘Hidden Traps,’ the book is so much more than a guide to how to protect yourself online while creating an author presence. Judy covers the entire author platform, starting from why you need one and how to decide what direction to take it in. I’m roughly two years into having an ‘author’ presence online, and I think that gave me enough background knowledge that I wasn’t overwhelmed by the quantity of advice, and could instead take it in easily and act on it. However, this book would be very useful to someone just starting out. I recommend adding it to your writing resources!


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.


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

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.


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.