Writing

More Than Coffee … teaser #1

I’ve been occupied lately by preparations for my Grandma’s 90th birthday–well done, Grandma!–but I am very glad to be able to go back to work writing. Specifically, I’m back to work on Kathleen’s wizards.

Remember my contribution of an original story to the fundraiser in aid of LGBT Chechens? This is that story! It’s been an interesting writing journey because the story and characters have all evolved unexpectedly as I’ve been writing. I have been wanting to share a snippet for ages, so here is the opening scene of the story, as it stands now. Note: there are almost certainly going to be a lot of changes in the final story!

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Readers & Writers for LGBT Auction Results!

Sorry for the lack of updates! It’s odd. There’s no one reason I can put my finger on, but I’ve been exhausted for most of May. I feel like I’m coming down with something, but no symptoms ever eventuate. Still, I have some good news to share with you this morning, that more than makes up for my sleepiness!

The Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens auction took place and raised, in total, 2709 US dollars. That is brilliant. While I’m very pleased with that amount, Chechens still need our help. If you can donate, the FAQ lists organisations that are supporting LGBT Chechens here. Many authors and publishers are donating May royalties to these organisations, so to support them, go here. There are some amazing books taking part.

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My contribution to the auction included an original story! I’ve been in touch with the auction winner, and her story request is absolutely awesome. For the last week, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself entertaining various possibilities. I’m in the last stages of hashing out the plot (have the basic outline, but need to do some research to iron down some details), and I have a really good feeling about this one. The working title is More Than Coffee, and as a taste of what I’m working on, head over to Pinterest to see my inspiration board. I’m hoping to have a teaser to share with you soon!

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Tank Top by Look Human: Check it out.

Name This Dog! Contest and Excerpt.

I’ve been working away at Thorns and Fangs Three (yes, it does have a title—but considering that this is the fifth title I’ve come up with, I’m sitting on a bit longer to be sure this is the one). It’s going a little slower than I would like, but I am pleased with how it’s coming along.

And since I’m enjoying myself, I thought I’d share the fun. Check out this handsome fellow:

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Woof.

He needs a name. Or rather, his Thorns and Fangs counterpart needs a name.

I know that not everyone reads excerpts, so for the spoiler-free crowd, Nate adopts a stray dog, Aki wants no part of it, and they have to agree on a name for the poor creature (if you enjoy spoilers, read on to see what the poor dog has already endured). Please give me possible names for the dog (a comment on Facebook, Goodreads or WordPress, a tweet, an e-mail, any method okay). The deadline is midnight March 31st NZ time, at which point I will pick the most suitable name to use in the story (and hopefully be able to give the winner a prize as well).

You can make as many suggestions as you like, but unfortunately there is only one dog, so only one winner.

Thank you very much for reading and I look forward to your suggestions!

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Mindful March

Time for the monthly recap! As you may have gathered from my January recap and Accelerated February posts, February was a busy month. The decision to track my writing, health and money made a big difference, not so much in keeping me on track, but making me aware of what is holding me back currently. Despite the lack of word count, I feel I am making really good progress towards my writing goals. I have a lot of work to do if I want to make my 2017 goals, but I feel confident that I can make it happen.

Quick and dirty recap: February Goals

  • finish Murder #1 – NOT AT ALL
  • re-plot TDL – Almost finished!
  • Freelance project 1 AND 2 – Finished project 1. 2 was not finished, but my client was dealing with IRL stuff, so I am counting this as a success.
  • Complete Freelance Project 3 (weekly)- Great Success.
  • regular blog posts- More or less!
  • read 9 books- YES!
  • establish a daily writing habit.-NO

I started February all fired up to write every day. Unfortunately, until I resolve the plot issues I’m having with Murder#1, working on this project is like pulling teeth. I managed for two days, before sinking into a depressed funk. Not writing also made me fall into a depressed funk, until I realised that I could count plotting as writing. Being able to check off time spent plotting as writing made me feel productive and happy, and that encouraged me to keep at it. I came to the conclusion that I have a lot more work to do with research on Murder#1, but that if I came up with a solid plot for Thorns and Fangs #3, then I could work on that while continuing to research Murder#1. All in all, I wrote 12 out of 28 days in February, which while far from the results I wanted, have meant that I am in a really good position to try again for a daily writing habit in March.

Balancing Freelance projects with everything else will continue to be an ongoing problem in March, as I’m finding it hard to say no to clients adding extra work onto existing projects. I’m going to have to be strategic in what projects I take on, and in protecting my creative and research time.

Now that I’m back in the habit of regular blogging, I’m really enjoying it. Travelling was great fun, but while it gave me a lot of interesting places to write about for the blog, I also returned from Auckland totally exhausted. It took me about a week to recover. What is interesting is that the exhaustion was all mental. Physically, I was tired but otherwise fine. I was not sick at all during February, which, for me, is a huge accomplishment! I think this is Accelerated February already positively impacting my health.

Although I didn’t manage to take my vitamins, eat 5 plus servings of fruit and veges a day or walk every day, I am doing all three more regularly and it is having a tremendous impact, not only  on my health but on how I feel about myself. Another new addition to my health routine is a daily guided meditation using the smiling mind app. This is something I want to continue–hence Mindful March! And that brings us to March Goals:

  • Daily Writing Habit (Currently 2/31)
  • Write Thorns and Fangs #3 (3,894/100,000)
  • Balance Freelance and Creative Work
  • Read 9 books (3/9)
  • Regular blog posts (1/9)
  • Edit and release Deep Magic boxset
  • Complete Defensive Driving Course
  • Sit Full Licence Test
  • SECRET PROJECT TBA later.

Auckland Haul!

Did I mention I was in Auckland? I’m in Auckland! And having a great time, mostly thanks to the lovely M. Caspian and the amazing Joanna Penn.

True story: My sister asks me what I’m doing in Auckland and I mention M. Caspian is taking me to the Typo outlet store (Typo being a stationary chain here in NZ). My sister immediately frowns. “And you’re only taking one bag?” I am promptly loaned an extra bag with which to carry home my Typo haul.

Turns out … she knows me very, very well.

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This is the result of one day in Auckland, one day with Joanna Penn! Writer friends, be jealous–she is even more fun in person than she is on the podcast! She made a lot of really complex material really easy to understand. My brain is fried, but I feel really positive about my plans for the year and enthused about writing.

Breakdown. Auckland adventures started with the aforementioned Typo outlet store, followed by Little and Friday–going to Little and Friday with M. Caspian is my new favourite Auckland tradition. To demonstrate why, here is an orange triceratops trying to steal my lemon and coconut cake.

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M. Caspian’s bacon and egg pie did not survive long enough for a photo, but it was beautiful. The best bacon and egg pie I have ever been allowed to share (if it had been my pie, I wouldn’t have shared it–M. Caspian is a much better person than me).

From Little and Friday, we went on a stationary and bookstore tour, travelling to The Booklover, a charming independent bookstore, to hunt down a book I’d been asked to find, before continuing on to kikki-k, where we spent a really enjoyable time browsing more stationary. This is where I acquired my beautiful pens!

Saturday was the reason for me coming to Auckland–Joanna Penn’s Successful Self-Publishing Seminar. It was fantastic. 40 people, but it felt like a much smaller group. I saw old friends, made new ones, and left feeling the most enthusiastically exhausted I have been in ages. It was all go–I learned lots of things and am fired up to get to work, which was what I most needed.

And I got the chance to talk to Joanna and tell her just how much her books and podcasts have helped and inspired me over the years! I was not brave enough to ask for a photo together, but I did get this:

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She signed it for me! (and yes, that is my real name)

I do not think I could have had a better time in Auckland–and I still have two days left! I’m planning to explore Auckland (weather permitting) and share my adventures here on the blog, so stay tuned for more–although I have been banned from entering any other stationary shops.

 

Geeking Out at Farmhouse Tea Rooms, Charteris Bay.

I’m having such an amazing time in Diamond Harbour that I wanted to share some of my explorations. On Friday I drove to Orton Bradley Park in Charteris Bay. The Orton Bradley Park has some historic buildings, a patch of preserved forest, walking tracks and an organic dairy. I was there for the Farmhouse Tea Rooms.

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The Tea Rooms opened in December. It’s housed in the reconstructed farmhouse that was home for the original owners. It prides itself on strong tea and old-fashioned cakes. Tea is strictly loose-leaf and served on a beautiful tea service. The staff dress in Victorian costume.

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I am in love. Basically, having a fancy, Victorian style tea parlour was a long-held fantasy of mine that I eventually gave up on (I was going to call it OTT), because I decided that was the sort of thing that couldn’t possibly happen in real life. Not true! They’re doing it–and they’re doing it in isolated and under-populated Charteris Bay. I love these people.

Before I’d even finished my scones, I was on the phone to Mum, telling her we have to bring Grandma here. It’s that good. And yes, they do coffee and more than sweets–I ended up getting a gluten free bacon and egg pie to take home (it was made with hash browns instead of pastry and was so, so good).

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And then it got better. This will only make sense if you’ve read Uprooted (much like my last blog post actually), but while I was admiring the farm buildings and finding many, many things that reminded me of Nate’s home in Little River, I wandered outside into the garden. Wow, this is so similar to the farm! I thought. I wonder if there is an oak tree here. That would make it perfect.

I didn’t find an oak. I found a chestnut tree.

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Wow.

Morgen Song reviewed at Love Bytes!

Morgen Song was reviewed today at Love Bytes Same Sex Book Reviews, and I could not be happier. Dan did a wonderful review of Deep Magic and Morgen Curse both back in June, and I was delighted that he took the time to review Morgen Song. Thank you, Dan!

Check out Dan’s review here–and while you’re on Love Bytes, check out their Best of 2016, starting with Sarina’s recommendations here. In addition to some great book recs, there are three awesome prizes up for grabs.

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