2014 In Retrospect

It’s December and Christmas is around the corner (categorically my most favourite time of the year). As it happens it’s also time to reflect on 2014 and decide if 2014 kicked my butt or was it the other way around?

In terms of health I’d say 2014 won hands down. There were far too many says spent on the wrong side of the bedcovers, but I feel I more than made up for it on the my good days.

In terms of books published here is a quick list of 2014’s releases:
Jan – Lost Soul (SkinWalker #2)
Mar – Retribution (Angels #1)
May – Blood Magic (SoulTracker #1)
July – Pyros (SkinWalker 0.5)
Aug – Blood & Gold (Kali #2)
Sep – Requiem (Angels #2)
Oct – Last Chance (SkinWalker #3)
Dec – Dead Wrath (Valkyrie #4)
Dec – Beautiful Collision (Desperation #1)
Dec – Sugar & Spice Anthology

That’s 9 books and one anthology published in 2014, so I’d guess I beat 2014 😉

Needless to say I am a little in awe. I spent so much of the year head down, nose to the grindstone I guess I didn’t stop much to realise I was meeting and exceeding my goals. I have to admit there were many moments that I spent bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t writing fast enough or releasing fast enough, but I promise to do better in 2015.

What’s in store for 2015, you ask? This is what I have on the cards, not in order of release, and not set in stone either:

Thriller/Horror Standalones – ongoing line
Dark Shadows
Sight

Valkyrie Series
#5 Dead Silence – Series Complete

Hand of Kali Series
#3 Time & Fate – Series Complete

Desperation – NA Contemp
#2 Beautiful Conviction – Series Complete

Angels of the Irin – Extended series (9 books)
#3 Resonance
#4 Revelation

SoulTracker Series – extended series (9 books)
#2 Dark Sight
#3 Demon Kin
#4 Soul Tracker

SkinWalker Series – extended series (6 books)
#4 Blood Promise
#5 Fire Mage

Looks like a lot, right? To be honest they may not all make it to publication in 2015 but I will certainly try.

Any questions about the upcoming books or the current series please leave them in the comments 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Advertisements

Butterflies, ARC’s & Writing Blues

 

i-have-butterflies-in-my-stomach_o_759287

Butterflies

I’m sitting here, sipping tea, with big-ass butterflies jostling in my tummy. I should have breakfast but the butterflies are taking up too much space. Retribution final edits are due from my amazing editor and I’m a wreck! I was nervous when Lost Soul came out (no idea why) but I’m more anxious for Retribution. As it is the story has to live up to that super amazing cover! I’ve had a few writing world upheavals and am feeling a little off kilter right now. Being Indie means you get to control everything from start to finish and sometimes that a great thing and then at times when things go off the rails, not so much. All in all I love being Indie – it’s taken me a while to admit it haha but there you have it. It’s the truth. I’m too much of a control freak so it works perfectly for me. But for now I will try to control my nerves.

photo

ARC’s

Retribution ARC’s will go out tomorrow and there’s a bunch of super-awesome-rock-my-world ARC reviewers lined up- you guys have no idea how happy you’ve made me (Big Cheesy Grin)

Thanks to Sophia Maclean via Pinterest
Thanks to Sophia Maclean via Pinterest

Writing Blues

I really needed to see that meme (who doesn’t love Tom/Loki?). I’m writing Soultracker #1 (tentatively titled Blood Magic) but it’s been slow going. Not sure what’s wrong with my creative juices- seemed to have all dried up 😦 Can’t blame Mercury Retrograde cos it’s over. Haven’t been sick all week either so can’t blame that. My gut tells me the answer is ‘sit down and start writing’ and I suspect it’s right. Besides, I really have to finish this book cos my email is overflowing with queries on when the next Kali book comes out so I’d better get my ass moving on that one.

Tentative plan with verrryy tentative release dates:

Blood Magic (Soultracker #1) – Early May

Blood & Gold (Hand of Kali #2) – late June

Requiem (Irin #2) – late July

So I’d better get back to it! Happy weekend people!

A moment of clarity

I’m in a lull at the moment. With Fire released at last its a weight off my shoulders. Plus with Dead Chaos written and edits being finalised that’s another sorta-tick off my list.
We won’t go into the dead chaos cover except that it’s giving me a conniption. I’ll have an update on covers soon so look out for that post.
I’ve already begun writing Lost Soul – the second in the DarkWorld series – halfway through already and having good fun writing about a new world and new creatures.
So why the lull you ask? I’m not sure. It’s one of those moments of clarity I think. When everything slows down and you can see the world so clearly.
I’ve always been a bit of a loner, an outskirts person. I think a lot of writers are this way, the observer, the watcher, the people scientist. It gives you the opportunity of observation, to watch conversations and interactions between people. Some people are so good at social subterfuge but its always been a curse that I can pick up on it no matter how subtle. It would be good to turn it off now and then and just go with the social flow but that’s not going to happen, right?
So I’d best get on with it… Dead Chaos to the editor, Lost Soul written and then maybe I’ll start writing the second Kali book Blood…

Are you on Amazon?
Then sign up to be notified as soon as I release a new book. Go to my Amazon author page and at the top right hand corner click the link to subscribe. Amazon Author page.

*subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know about the release

PS. One lucky Newsletter subscriber will win a swag pack this month – Dead Radiance Magnet, Valkyrie series bookmarks and bookcards all signed

 

A new novel beckons: Curse of the blinking cursor

A new novel beckons: Curse of the blinking cursor

Every so often I encounter the blank page. More so when I’m about to embark on a new project. And every single time (and even though I now have 6 completed novels written) it affords me the same sense of excitement mixed with a dash of oh-my-god-how-am-I-going-to-finish-this! It’s just so much of blank emptiness that needs to be filled that’s so easy to make a writer doubtful.

I’m busy outlining Lost Soul, the second book in the DarkWorld series. It’s so much fun playing with characters and scenes, defining motivations and refining plot lines. But once it’s done, the next step is to open up that document and face the blinking cursor.

Breaking it Down
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s upwards of 90 thousand words, roughly 100 hours of writing time for me. that’s a huge job to face down. Breaking it down into manageable bits makes it feel less daunting, makes the task seem less insurmountable.

If I’m concentrating on one particular project I like to set a goal, maybe 5000 words per day. If I don’t hit that goal I readjust my numbers as I write but I keep track. I’m a spreadsheet nut so I love drawing up a list of days with my targets, actuals and running totals. Watching my progress keeps me in line, makes me want to hit my target and makes the ginormous job so much easier to complete.

The Mid-novel Slump
Some writers have this problem and although I called it the mid novel slump, we tend to experience this slump at different times for different projects. Some writers hit the one third mark and sit back frustrated because it suddenly feels like you’re running on empty. I usually reach this point at around 60K. The end is in sight and yet finishing seems like I’m climbing the steepest mountain.

At this point I am often tempted to begin my revisions, and sometimes this has worked. I’ve gone back, tightened the plot, fixed plot holes and motivations which may make the final 30k much easier to write.

Sometimes this is a bad idea, mainly because it’s a reason to keep fiddling and never finish the novel. This is an especially frustrating problem for new writers so I’d suggest newbies don’t take this route, just write to done and then revise.

If you don’t have a problem finishing, if you don’t fall into the cycle of fix fix fix without reaching the end, then going back to revise may be a good thing for both you and your novel. It gives me the opportunity to read what I’ve written, to remember the cool stuff I wrote, to refine those awesome story threads that I may have forgotten (believe me this happens pretty often) as I’ve been barrelling along meeting my daily wordcount goals without a backward glance.

For now I’m rounding up Dead Chaos (Valkyrie #3) and plotting Lost Soul (DarkWorld #2) and maybe I’ll throw in a revision for Seals of Hades (Irin #1). Let’s see how things go…

Writing in the face of Pain

Against the will of my body I am making progress on the edits of Fire. To say its been a struggle is a bit of an understatement. I know what it’s like to not be in the mood to write, but to be all fired up and ready to and be unable to write is frustration tenfold.

My daily choice is simple. Medication for pain which makes me drowsy and useless, as morphine does…lol. Or pain in all its debilitating glory which makes for decidedly slow editing and writing progress. I’ve manned up a good few times, refused the peace of pain relief and muddled through the first two rounds of my edits.

There’s a lot to do when you get your MS back from your editor and I hope I’m doing an acceptable job of it. I do up to three passes. One to accept easy fixes and suggestions. The second round is deeper, looking at suggestions that either didn’t sit right (insert ego here) or suggestions that means a change needs to be layered through or removed from the MS.

The last round is the final check, going deeper, looking at how the story works, how the prose works, and basically to make sure I like what it seeing. Usually the 3rd pass is quick. They were for my previous novels. Not so with Fire. And not for lack of trying.

I’m chugging along and I’ll get there. Here I have to say kudos to any writer who writes in the face of pain. Pain is debilitating and creativity destroying and emotionally taxing so hats of to all you amazing scribes out there creating and producing your stories in its of pain.

And if you aren’t a writer you still rock…life is tough and pain is an unwanted hurdle so if you have the strength to thumb your nose at debilitating pain then you’re simply awesome.

Fire, edits and Quickoffice Pro HD

It’s an overcast rainy day here in Auckland, been raining most of the night so it seems we are in for a very wet winter season. But yeah, if you live in Auckland you’re pretty much used to the rain.
A few minutes ago I was debating whether to read or to get back to my edits on Fire. Because I’m in recovery after a pretty bad 36 hour headache I really want to just curl up on the couch. With the fact that I recently downloaded Quickoffice Pro HD for my iPad I don’t have much of a choice at all. So now I’m curled up on the couch editing.

I pretty much can’t live without my ipad. Just this morning DH suggested I have it surgically attached to me … Lol, isn’t he just too funny?

About six months ago I went searching for an app that would allow me to edit on my iPad, making things a little more comfortable for me at the height of my edits. I discovered Cloudon and downloaded it happily. It’s clunky, and slow, but allowed me to use track changes so I could crit my CPs work and do my edits in bed, on the couch or at the coffee shop.

But on Wed I received an email from Cloudon thanking me for being part of their trial process (wish I’d known it was a trial??) and offering me the opportunity to use the track changes feature from now on for a price. $38.99 per year, about 4 bucks a week or just under $2 a day. What? Really? And they intended to begin charging users the very next day. Not much notice there guys…

So Cloudon put a serious kink in my plans as I was going away for a couple of days and intended to work mostly on my CPs manuscript which had a deadline (which I’d already missed but Mel so kindly gave me an extension. Isn’t she just awesome?)

So, fuming, I searched the iPad apps, found Quickoffice Pro HD and downloaded it immediately. Trigger happy, wasn’t I? Not really. With QO Pro HD at $24.99 for the app (For ever) common sense said I didn’t have much of a choice, duh! I happily paid for it, and will happily pay for upgrades in the future. Why should I (or anyone else) pay $38.99 per year for something we can pay $24.99 for outright. Did Cloudon not do their research? Market analysis? Maybe there is some reason they think they are justified in their charges but seriously, I do prefer the QO app. It’s neater, the track changes are easy to use and the program is not slow. Cloudon otoh, looks a lot like the actual Word doc but was slow to scroll, clunky, and reload took too much time.

20130609-121607.jpg

So, I’ve left Cloudon for something much better and easier to use.
What does this mean?
It means I no longer have a reason to not edit, simply because I can relax on the couch and edit. It also means I can work more… Haha…bet DH would love to hear me say that.

Now for something a little more fun… My lovely design consultant Leigh has been playing with title fonts of the Fire cover as it gets closer to full reveal.

20130609-115929.jpg

Maya is giving me a run for my money too. This book is coming along, and I’m having so much fun with gods and demons, magic and fight scenes. And, horror of horrors, I had to delete two chapters! But seriously it’s not bad at all. Doing so will tighten the manuscript and keep the story moving. (Remembers editors comments on moving the story along, and chuckles) Thank goodness I’m not the kind of writer who faints at the thought of killing her darlings.

I’m hoping to have all edits done by end of June with an early to mid July release. I may announce the release date when I do the full cover reveal *crosses fingers

Now, back to editing on the couch…

So tell me…
Do you use an iPad to work?
What apps do you find awesome to use?
Do you like to relax and work like me or are you a work is work and relax is relax kind of person?

My Journey in Publishing- 16 months on

I was just wrapping a bunch of SKIN DEEP orders, getting ready to send out some signed book orders and I got into a contemplative mood. It’s been 16 months since I waded into publishing, since Dead Radiance was published, and I was griping (silently) that I hadn’t done well enough. Three books out in 16 months is a pretty good release rate but what bugs me is that Dead Chaos should have released in Feb but will likely only make it to my readers in Aug 2013. Plus Skin Deep was meant to release in Nov 2012 but only made it there 5 months later in late April 2013.

I know, I can hear a few of you going ‘But you’ve been through so much, stop being hard on yourself’, but you see I am always the taskmaster of myself.  I told readers who were clamouring for DEAD CHAOS that it would release Feb 2013 and it didn’t. To me that’s just not acceptable.

Still I’m trying to be positive, looking forward to Fire reaching readers mid to late July. I’m deep in edits right now, the heaters warming my feet and its storming outside. Love rainy days –the only thing missing is a roaring fire.

I’ve been treated by Miss 17. Just love TYPO!

2013-06-04 14.44.18

The cover for FIRE is well on its way to completion- I’m hoping to show it off in the next two weeks.

I’m still putting the finishing touches on Dead Chaos, keeping my fingers crossed that Valkyrie fans will like where the story is going. Fingers crossed, with editing going well and cover done on time, DEAD CHAOS should release mid August.

Plus there is Seals of Hades (UF/Paranormal) that needs one round of revisions before it’s off to my editor. As yet I can’t stick a date onto this novel (yeah I’m not making any promises lol)

And just as an aside- some work is being done on the second book in the DarkWorld series. I just couldn’t help myself, I’ve fallen back in love with Kailin’s worlds and all the interesting characters in SKIN DEEP.

And just so I can remind myself that my books are actually REAL

2013-06-04 14.42.58

TwitterRant, Qwitter and Follow Me Fails!

1368512185_twitter

I’ve been using Twitter for a couple of years. I’ve managed to amass a few Real followers – by those I mean followers who do care about my blog posts and release information and even my little ‘Buy my book’ Tweets that I so seldom post. The rest? I’m not really sure who they are or why they follow me. Many fall into the categories of the subject of today’s post.

Follow Me Fails…

Okay, so here’s my TwitterRant:
1. Why do people follow me and then unfollow me after I follow them? I’m assuming these are Twitter users who just want to bulk up their follower numbers? Please don’t do this – its just rude. And I’ll just unfollow you…
2. Why do some Twitter users have no patience? I’ve had several followers who follow me (for whatever reason), wait 3 days then unfollow me? Are they competition entrants who follow just to qualify for a comp then unfollow asap? Sometimes….Or are these illegitimate followers who somehow think I’m on twitter all the time and if I don’t follow back within 3 days I’m dead to them? Sorry, this is also rude. And I’ll just unfollow you…
I’m not a gold class Twitter user by any means, but aren’t there general etiquette rules that people of the Twitterverse follow?

 

draft_lens2279279module165549772photo_1359456885

I was recently introduced to Qwitter for a similar reason – that so many of my own Twitter followers are just following to increase their numbers- they have no interest in me, all they want is my Follow-back. One thing Qwitter has shown me though- that 90% of Tweeps that follow me only to unfollow after I follow back are people who have probably received misguided information on how to use Twitter.

Twitter is NOT about adding to your follower count. Sure we know that high follower numbers are impressive but if you are a serial Follow-Back parasite, maybe stop and think about this: Tweeps are not just an @ sign followed by a bunch of letters. We are people. We Tweep, we chat, we rant and yes, once a relationship begins we are friends too. Maybe stop thinking about amassing Follow-Backs and start thinking about making friends. 🙂

So how do you feel about Twitter as a social tool?

How does Twitter work for you? 

Will you use a program like Qwitter to make sure you don’t have parasitic follow/unfollowers?

Do you ever chat with people on Twitter?

Cassie Hart’s Favorite Character

By Cassie Hart

When Tee asked me to write a post about my favourite character in the Valkyrie series, I had to really stop and think about it. Bryn is the obvious choice, of course, or Aiden, or maybe Sigrun, or Fenrir, or hell, even Hugin, difficult bird that he can be some times.

But when I think about the character that warms my heart I’d have to say that it’s Ms Custer. I really feel as though it was her warmth, her love, her acceptance—and her belief that Bryn would make decisions for the right reasons—that helped to get Bryn into the position to move from being a lost little girl, to being a young woman who could consider opening her heart to the possibility of friends, love, and a sense of family.

Having faced rejection from her biological mother, the loss of her father, and many foster families that simply didn’t work out, Bryn was seriously damaged goods. But Ms Custer had a history of nurturing lost kids, and she took Bryn into her home, just as she did all those other children, and chipped away at the hard façade Bryn had built around her. Her persistence, her kindness, her concern, they all seem vital, to me, in allowing Bryn to feel safe enough to open herself up a little and let others inside.

And hey, let’s be honest, Ms Custer is a tough old bird in her own right, who will fight for what’s hers and defend her children even in the face of danger. You’ve got to respect that 😉

There are so many great characters in these books, from the prominent to the less obvious. Which ones are your favourites?

Dictionary Rant: Word – Assoil

Forgive me. I just came across this word and I couldn’t help myself.

Perhaps it’s the voices of the monster in my head, but seriously, just look at that word! Is there anything in the word ‘Assoil’ that would even infer it’s actual meaning?

Okay, shall we begin with the first three letters – ASS. Now, the first picture slamming into my overfilled brain is that of the nether regions of something, umm… well the nether region of anything really, but you get the nether part so we shall proceed.
The second image fighting for space is, of course, the sad cousin of the donkey, and that kindly relates to anything stupid, silly, asinine, an idiot, a nincompoop … okay let’s stop there, before my poor highly amused head explodes…

Now on to the last four letters – SOIL. Right, so first image is dirt, sand, stuff underfoot you know, stuff on the ground and that takes us stamping over to the well related meaning of making something dirty. Yes, when something clean is made dirty it is ‘soiled’ isn’t it? Like, a shoe in horses p**p, or a nappy and babyp**p…. Ok I think you get where I’m going with this…

So given these two very easily understood connotations of the parts of the word assoil we are left with a conglomeration of images quite understandably related to nether regions, donkeys and p**p.

Then how in the name of the sweet universe can this word, Assoil, mean ‘To absolve; acquit; pardon’

Sigh … Rant over!

P.S.
I do hope you see fit to assoil me in this matter as I am but a mere student to the English language.