Goals Update – September 2013

Its hard to believe that I haven’t really done a goals update for a while (apparently it was January / February!!!)  Anyway, my goals update is as follows:

1.  Complete Ice Planet 

2.  New Year Novella – The Gamble – 10000 (and growing)

3. Evil Editors Unite – March -The Gothic Novel –  I actually edited the Ice Planet

4. NZ Book Month, NZ authors blog a day!  I got about 20 writers in the end, was absolutely fabulous – thanks to all the fabulous authors who supported my site during this time.

5.  SoCNoC – Cursed Love

Who's that Girl6. the End is Nigh – I originally intended to edit the Ice Planet, but instead I edited The Gamble / Cursed Love and plotted out another story – Who’s That Girl

I have pretty much accomplished all my goals, so I decided to push myself a little bit so I decided to write for NaNoWriMo in November.  My plan was to write a steampunk story, but then decided I wanted to write in September.  When the opportunity arose, I decided to make a go for it.  It was a submission call with a picture prompt for Who’s That Girl.  The picture was so fabulous, I could not resist and have a wonderful story bubbling away inside.  I can now write this story and will have to think of another one to write for NaNo!

So goals-wise

7.  Write Who’s that Girl in September (goal 25 – 35k)

8. Write 50k novel during NaNoWriMo in November.

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10 Days Writer Blogging Challenge – Day 5

Day 5Show off 3 of your best blog posts (with links!)

Why are these your best (so far!). Consider comments, page visit stats, or the content.

Introversion and Me – This is a relatively recent post about myself and introversion, and how it all makes sense  🙂  This is the biggest post according to the Stats page.

Pixies vs Elves – Asking what the difference is between Pixies and Elves – because I had been struggling to differentiate them.  also one of the most popular posts, even today with Pixies Vs Elves coming up as the most searched for terms.

Another Angel in Heaven – A major incidence occurred in our small community when we lost of beautiful little 6 year old girl in tragic circumstances.  The entire community rallied together to support the parents and siblings of this little angel.  This is one of my favourite posts because it talks about this beautiful child and how she touched so many lives prior to her death.  My other favourite is my post about a really good friend – Mark Fowler a wonderful man that I only got to know better after his death.  His death also taught me a lot about life and how to life it for all it is worth – because that is what he did  🙂

I sneaked an extra one in  🙂

NZ Book Month – Romancing Medicine with Louisa George – An interview I did with Louisa George in March this year for NZ Book Month.  An intriguing look into the mind of a Medical Romance Writer.  Also a popular post, so I have included it here.

NZ Book Month – Review and Winner!

What an awesome month!  While I didn’t have 31 guests, I still had over 20!  Thank you so much to all those who participated and took time to answer my questions.  There has been a lot of feedback even outside of the website, so thank you so much for taking part.

And now, the most exciting bit – the winner of the Signed Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation is Cherie Le Clare!  Congratulations Cherie, Nalini Singh’s book will wing its way to you soon!

I appreciate all of the time and effort that everyone put in, and I hope that you have gained some new fans along the way.  Thank you everyone for the wonderful month.

NZ Book Month – Love, Life and Hiroshima by LaVerne Clark

Jenna Thomas stormed into my head the moment I started thinking of a premise to a superhero-themed novella. Why superhero? I’d heard of a submission call that excited me like nothing else had in a long time. Rushing to my computer, I swept aside the current WIP I’d been labouring over and let the words pour out on the new. Pretty soon, I had my first pivotal scene; how my heroine came by her abilities; the setting – and then I hit a brick wall. Jenna dug her toes in and point-blank refused to be cast as a superhero. No matter how much I tried to manipulate her, or how much pleading and whining was involved, I couldn’t get her to budge. There was no way on earth she was going to be flying around saving people left, right and centre. Jenna shunned the limelight, preferring to keep her distance from the general public as much as humanly possible.

“Fine then,” I finally snapped, throwing my hands up in surrender. “Show me who you really are then and why I should write your story.” As I sat at my computer sulking over the fact I wasn’t going to be writing a fantastic superhero story after all, she revealed her story to me and I was captivated.

Jenna’s family originated from Hiroshima, Japan. They’d lived quiet, ordinary lives until that fateful day of August 6th 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped over their city, changing everyone’s lives forever. After the initial horror had passed, it became apparent a new one was on the horizon – radiation poisoning – and Jenna’s family fled to New Zealand. Trekking halfway around the world, they thought they’d escaped the repercussions of the war – but the radiation from the fall-out had affected them after all. It sank deep into their molecular structure and changed their DNA forever.

For most of the family, it presented itself as cancer, killing them off one by one. But for a select few, it brought strange abilities instead. For a long time, Jenna was sure she’d been dealt the dud-hand – and then she met Nick – and for the first time, she thought she might have had it wrong.

Although the horror of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were well before my time and in a different part of the world, I remember seeing the black and white photos described in a scene of Affinity as a young girl and they haunted me. I didn’t know how much until I met Jenna, and I could see them in my mind’s eye as clearly as the first time I gazed at them in shocked fascination.

But along with those feelings of distress and sorrow, I experienced equal ones of awe and inspiration. Amongst the awful photos were occasional ones of hope and beauty. The people of Japan affected by this terrible event were undoubtedly angry at what had been done to them, but I never saw hatred in their eyes. Maybe it was because they were sick of the fighting – or more likely they were just too devastated. Whatever it was, it affected me personally and Jenna’s story is a result of that long-ago memory.

Maybe we can’t all have special abilities like Jenna does, but what we do all have at our core is the ability to empathize and care for one another. We have the capacity to forgive atrocities and get on with life – and that to me is an incredible ability worthy of any superhero, don’t you think? J

AUTHOR BIO

Like the heroines in my stories, I married my own gorgeous hero and have been blessed LaVernewith a school-aged son and a toddler-aged daughter. I’m passionately involved with the charitable organization, “Greyhounds as Pets” after falling in love and adopting my own ex-racing greyhound, and became the Area Coordinator for my region. Perhaps, in the back of my mind was the old adage of owners looking like their dogs, but sadly, my legs don’t seem to have got any longer and my waist hasn’t shrunk to minuscule proportions, but on a good note, at least my nose isn’t any longer! I’m a member of Romance Writers of New Zealand and live in the beautiful coastal town of Nelson at the top of the South Island, the sun capital of the country.

BLURB: Affinity

In the wrong hands, Jenna Thomas’s legacy could be a curse—in her mind it already is.

As a child, a routine x-ray awakened an abnormality in Jenna’s DNA giving her the ability to “call” creatures and take on their attributes. Labeled a freak since then, Jenna’s learned to keep everyone at a distance. But all that changes the day she saves a young boy from drowning, and the story goes viral.

Nick Hawke, an off-duty policeman, witnesses part of the drama. Captivated by Jenna’s exotic beauty, he decides to investigate, not sure what to believe. Jenna puts his cynicism to the test—even as the attraction between them grows.

As word of her extraordinary rescue spreads, a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to control Jenna’s abilities draws near. With her feelings for Nick putting him in danger too, can Jenna risk everything to protect them both?

 

BUY LINKS – AFFINITY

The Wild Rose Press

 Amazon 

GUARDIAN OF THE JEWEL

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

NZ Book Month – Rosalind James – A not so Kiwi author

Rosalind James is the author of the Kindle-bestselling “Escape to New Zealand” series.  She is a former marketing executive who has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, travelling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries. 

Having recently read Just This Once by Rosalind James, I was intrigued.  How did an American Author capture NZ mannerisms and culture so well?  This is an interview that Rosalind James has provided for a blog tour and kindly allowed me to use.

Your series is called “Escape to New Zealand.” Why New Zealand?

I spent 15 wonderful months living and working in New Zealand, and fell in love with the country. The beauty and diversity of the landscape (not to mention the seascapes), the Maori culture and its integration into the country’s life, and, perhaps more than anything, the people: modest, good-humored, unfailingly polite and hospitable, and so very funny.  I think everyone would like to escape to New Zealand—I know I did!

 On the same note, why did you decide on rugby players as heroes?

What’s different about the All Blacks is that the players are expected to be model citizens off the field as well. These young men face so much pressure and are under such a spotlight—it’s a completely different environment from the U.S. sports world. The combination of superb athletic achievement and celebrity with the expectation that you’re still a “good bloke” just fascinated me. And made me say: “romance hero”!

 How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I’ve just finished my fourth book, Just for Fun. They are all my favorites while I’m writing them! Here’s how they fall out for me:

Most cathartic to write/favorite hero: Just This Once

Snarkiest banter/most interesting research (Maori hero): Just Good Friends

Funniest/easiest to write: Just for Now

Sexiest/most heart-tugging: Just for Fun

 Do you see yourself in your heroines? Which of them is most like you?

There’s something of me in all my heroines. Most like me: absolutely Hannah, in Just This Once. People say “write what you know,” so I did! That book has a fair amount of autobiography in it. The funny thing is that some reviewers haven’t liked her as well as my other heroines (I try not to take it personally!). They’ve thought her emotional issues should be resolved once she meets our wonderful hero. If only life worked that way, huh?

Least like me: Kate, from Just Good Friends. I wish I were that confident and tough.

 What surprises your friends about your books?

That they’re so steamy! J

When did you begin writing?

I’d been a marketing writer for 10 years, but I never had a thought of writing fiction.
I was on holiday in New Zealand with my husband almost exactly one year ago, and I had a story unfolding in my head as I so often do. For some reason, instead of telling myself to stop daydreaming, I let the story continue for days. I asked my husband, “Do you think I could write a book?” and being the great guy he is, he said, “Of course!” So I had him stop the car in Te Kuiti and bought a notebook, paper, and a pen. It was Oh So Scary to write the first sentence of “Just This Once.” But within two weeks, I was writing six hours a day on top of my regular job, and I knew this was all I wanted to do.

How long did it take to complete your first book?

Six weeks, while working at my “real job.” (I finished the book and quit the job.) I think up/write/edit a book in about three months, but that’s because I’ve been a professional writer working to deadline for so long–writing my own stories is so much more fun, it’s just a matter of keeping up on paper with what’s in my head.

 I notice that you’re self-published. Did you try the traditional publishing route first? Any advice for other writers considering self-publishing?

I queried agents for about three months with “Just This Once,” and got requests for more of the book from a few agents and one publisher. One day in June, I heard back from a very prominent agent, who’d requested the full manuscript, that she really enjoyed the story, but that “New Zealand rugby” would be too tough of a hook. An hour earlier, I’d heard from my doctor, who said, “I’m referring you to the oncologist, because we can’t tell what your tumor is.” My first thought was, thank God my children are grown. And my second was, thank God I have had the chance to find out what I wanted to do in life, and to do it. The one thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to die without publishing my books.

And the other thing I knew for sure was that “New Zealand rugby” was a GREAT hook! I finished writing “Just for Now” two days before going into the hospital and started editing again seven days after surgery. I decided that I still didn’t want to die without publishing my books, so within a month, I’d published all three! And by the way: I’m not dying anytime soon, unless I get hit by a truck—lots more time, I hope, to write lots more books!

We’re living in a wonderful time when you can see for yourself if your book has “sales appeal” or not. Why not give it a try and see? The risk and cost are low–professional editing and cover design, an author website. The dream, of course, is to get that lucrative publishing contract—but whether or not that happens, doing it this way is working great for me so far, and I’m so very thankful to have the opportunity to share my work with so many people.

 What have you learned from writing and publishing your books?

Life is all about taking risks. Anything that’s worth doing is going to be scary. The trick is to feel the fear and go ahead and do it anyway. Fall in love, write a book, pursue your dreams. That’s the underlying theme of my books, and my life.

 

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure. – Helen Keller

 

Website/Blog: http://www.rosalindjames.com

Twitter: @RosalindJames5  (https://twitter.com/RosalindJames5)

Facebook: rosalindjamesbooks (https://www.facebook.com/rosalindjamesbooks)

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rosalindjames/rosalind-james/

Link to Purchase

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/rosalindjames

 

NZ Book Month – LaVerne Clark

LaVerneI first met LaVerne Clark through KiwiWriters, then later met face to face in regular writing groups.  She has since convinced me join Romance Writers NZ.  I consider LaVerne  a close friend and one of my greatest supporters.

With two books now out – Affinity and Guardian of the Jewel available through Wild Rose Press – and another two in progress, I had to ask her some real questions like:

 

 

 

When you aren’t writing, what do you do for a job?

I’m a mum and wife, so life is pretty hectic. I swear, I’m busier now than when I was working as a picture framer in my other life!

 

When do you generally write your story, and where?

I’m almost counting down the hours until the clock strikes 8pm, when the children go to bed. Does that make me a bad mother? Probably I have two laptops – one in the lounge and one in my bedroom – and write between them both, updating the USB stick each time. I have a playlist using a really cool, FREE app called Spotify on both, plug myself in and am away.

 

What made you decide to write in the first place?

Like most writers, I have a need to write. I love the whole creative process, but my favourite part would have to be going through edits and tightening the story until it is the best I can make it.

 

Why do you write about the topics you do?

I’m a romantic at heart and truly believe everyone can have and deserve a happily-ever-after if they’re only brave enough to open themselves up for it. Everyone wants to be loved. Isn’t that what we all strive for?

 

Where would be your ideal place be to write?

I would love to have my own office. Somewhere where I could shut the door and have everything at my fingertips at a moments notice. At the moment, if I want to print something out, I have to get the printer out, hook it up after fiddling with all sorts of assorted plugs, print whatever it is out, then put it away again.

 

If money was no object, would you write full time?

Ooo – yes please! That is my goal. Isn’t it every writer’s goal?

 

Tell us a little something about the book you are currently working on:

I’m waiting to hear back from my editor about my first full-length story, (cross fingers for me will you?) and am polishing up and finishing off another that’s been on my mind for quite a while. It is a contemporary fantasy romance set in the Central Plauteau area of NZ and involves the Tarawera eruption, a Maori bone carving with a strange power and a villain determined to get his hands on it.

Thanks Karen! That was fun

 

Check out another post from LaVerne on how she came to create Affinity – posted on 30th March 2013

NZ Book Month – The Fun Begins…

Nalini Singh is a prolific writer, having written a long list of fantastical and amazing stories and has topped the New York Times best sellers list on a number of occasions, yet she doesn’t seem to be so well known in the country she calls home.  NZ!  Yes, Nalini, a native of Fiji calls NZ home and has done for some time.  Here is your opportunity to check out Nalini and add her to your list of favourite NZ authors.

Here is the blurb for the first of her Psy / Changeling series

Slave to SensationSLAVE TO SENSATION

Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind—and none of the heart…

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

Check out an excerpt over at Nalini’s website

Nalini Singh has generously offered a copy of this book, signed by her to one lucky person.  All you have to do to enter, is to comment on any posts this month, and you will go into the draw to win.

The draw will be made on 1st April and the winner notified as soon as possible afterwards.