All Quiet on the Motropolis Front

First week of full-on life and I survived, not only that, I managed it superbly. That’s not to say that the wheels will fall off anytime soon. But I managed, and that is the main thing. I went to bed, slept when I could, and only had one nap last week before work, and it was only half an hour. If you know me, you know that I nap a lot, and to work physically for an extra 4 hours three nights a week, only one nap is pretty damned good.

So I am currently packing apples for a smallish orchard in our local area. I can’t say they are the smallest, but they certainly aren’t the biggest. It is 20 years since I last packed apples, and I was given the job because I knew what to do. Surprisingly, the system isn’t much different, except instead of packing boxes ourselves, we have a conveyor and feed the apples onto the trays. The RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employee, normally Pacific Islanders) then pack the trays into boxes.

The supervisor has been testing my skills, by throwing apples (not literally) down the line with signatures on them (to ensure that they are being checked) and working two lines at once – which isn’t easy! And so far, I’m doing okay. And because I have a goal in mind, I can keep going until the end – 8 or 9 weeks away.

And I have been editing. I am up to Chapter 24 our of 42, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I have had limited time. And I have also been going over the chapters from the day before to ensure that it makes sense, so really I have been double editing. I like where the story is going, and enjoying the editing process.

Anyway I only have 12 days this month to finish off the editing, so I guess Io better get my backside into gear and work a little smarter.

Until next week.

Mayhem and Bedlam

This week is going to be crazy for me, because I have taken on a job packing apples three nights a week. It’s for 4 hours a night. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but in the scheme of things, it will add up at the end of 10 weeks.

I also have my stretch (yoga) class and pole class to attend (on alternating nights to the pack shed work), plus organising tea for the nights that I work, because I start at 5pm.

I also have a day job, gardening at rest homes around the local district, and it’s going to make things very interesting with getting home on time to have a shower, get dressed, have dinner and then go to work.

On top of all of that, I have writing / editing to do, and an Organics course to work my way through.

Some people think I’m mad for taking on the extra work, especially since I still get ultra tired and occasionally need afternoon naps, but I’m looking at the bigger picture, and that is the money that I will earn through the packing, is going to be used for something specific – I want to get my teeth fixed. My front teeth don’t look very nice, and I’m very conscious of it when smiling at people, so I’m hoping that I can use this money to get the smile fixed, and then I can feel more confident and grin more, and perhaps get some updated author pics done.

I have been working my way through edits, and also looking at programs that can help me make book covers, because I am just crap at that sort of thing. I have managed to find some pictures, I just hope that they work out.

I’ve also re-uploaded Finding Amy Archer, because Amazon kept telling me that there was an issue with it, so I’m that I’ve managed to fix it. I’ve also been going through an increasing the prices of my ebooks to $2.99, except for Running Away, which is the book of the month in my newsletter.

Hopefully I survive this week, because it is the start of a long journey, but one that I am keen to get underway, and then I can smile about it at the end.


It’s Sunday evening, it’s been raining today, the first time in a while that we’ve had rain during the day. Fortunately, we got out in the garden yesterday and mowed lawns and planted plants. So today was a day for doing things I love doing. Instead I ended up having a nap.

But then when I got up, I thought I should get some more done on my Organics Gardening course through the Open Polytechnic. And now, I’ve been doing some editing on Compromising Positions, my romantic comedy.

I’m not quite half way through, I’m at Chapter 15 out of about 41, but I’m over a third of the way through. And getting back into a routine of editing / writing in the mornings again. It feels good to get back into the swing of things. All things going well, I hope to start writing my next story in April.

But here is an excerpt of what I’ve been working on. Hope you enjoy it.

Ten days later, most of my gear had been moved, except for the bed and the lazyboy. They had been too heavy and cumbersome for me to move on my own. I’d asked Kirsty for help, and was expecting her to arrive any minute.
“Hello, Jo?”
A sexy voice rumbled. My heart wanted to melt. I turned around to find…
I looked him straight in the eye, and felt a giddy sensation overtake me and my knees went weak. I had to brace myself on the chair to stop from stumbling. We held eye contact for longer than we should have with an awkward silence. He stood in my doorway, a tight grey t-shirt showing off all of his muscle definition, his thumb hooked through the belt loop of his blue jeans, the other hand removing dark glasses his face. Silhoutted in the doorway he looked like a contemporary romance hero. I shook my head to gather my senses. He wasn’t who I was expecting to show up on my doorstep.
“Oh, Hi, how are you?” I tried not to show the surprise in my voice, but I don’t think I did very well.
“Were you expecting someone else?”
“No, yes.” I paused, swallowed and straightened myself up. “Kirsty actually.” I scratched my head and fidgeted, hoping he wasn’t watching me blush. There was a cute smile on his lips, his hazel eyes shone. I hadn’t noticed his eyes before. I guess I was too busy telling him to butt out.
“Kirsty asked me to help.”
My mouth opened wide, and closed again. “Okay, thank you.” I turned away from him, then turned back. I became hyper aware of him as his frame filled my only exit from the room.
“You don’t mind me moving in with your father? I mean, we aren’t a couple or anything.”
He smiled, and scratched his head and blushed. “I know, I talked to Dad, he said that you were only friends.”
“Did you think…” I did something vague with my hands, like a coupling. The red on his cheeks darkened, and he ducked his head down. He pulled at his lips with one hand.
“Ah, yeah.”
I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t. His discomfit was actually quite endearing. I smiled at him. I stepped forward and held out my hand. “I’m Joanne Leicester. I went to school with Kirsty.”
He nodded and reached out to grip mine. It was warm and firm and my knees went wobbly again.
“Yeah, I vaguely remember you.” He said. It was my turn to flush and I felt the heat rising up from my neck. I looked away and indicated the bed and the lazyboy.
“They’re the only two items that need to go.” I said.
“Okay, are they ready to go.”
“Yeah,” I said as he stepped past me and looked into my bedroom. He looked at the stripped back bed, the clean walls, windows, floors. There was nothing in the room except for the bed and base, which I had propped up against the wall in order to vacuum the room.
“I got Kirsty’s truck, so we can put those in the back. He indicated with his thumb over his shoulder.
I looked outside at the Utility truck. It had a big deck, we could probably get the bed and the lazy boy on.
“What’s first?” He asked.
“The bed?” I suggested. We went into the small space and his scent filled the room, a masculine essence with a hint of leather and spice. I tried to quietly inhale it and commit it to memory, because I really liked it. We maneuvered the mattress out the doors and onto the ute. The base of the bed was next and they slotted in nicely together. The lazyboy was cumbersome, and awkward to carry, and I started to get the giggles.
“What’s wrong?” Logan asked.
“Nothing,” I replied as we tipped the chair sideways to get it to fit through the doorway. Logan stepped backwards, off the step and landed in amongst the bushes, the chair landing on top of him. My giggles gave way to full on laughter.
“Hey, its not funny, get this bloody heavy thing off me.”
I honestly struggled. I couldn’t lift it off him because he looked so funny, his head framed by soft white blooms of the gypsophla, giving him a haloed look. The more he thrashed about, the more the tiny flowers lodged in his hair. By the time he got out, he smelt of herbs and surrounded by white blossoms.
“Okay, giggly gert, you can stop now.” He said as he brushed himself down. A smile pulled at the corner of his lips as he spoke. He shook his head and a shower of white cascading from him. We lifted the chair out of the garden and put it onto the truck, where Logan tied everything down.
“I’ll meet you at your Dad’s.”
“Come with me, saves taking two cars.”
“I have to come back and clean.” I said.
“I can drop you back.” He said. I nodded and got into the truck.

Marching Forward

Yeah I know, bad pun, but March is coming, and fast! Where did summer go? Did we have a summer?

So, writing… I didn’t get enough done in February. My plan of getting Compromising Positions edited in the month, didn’t happen. Because I have been busy. School is back, so my extra curricular activities are now back too, so I have yoga and pole classes that I go to. I enjoy both very much and I’m pleased to be going back. But it means that I have had to ration my time between work and tiredness, and unfortunately tiredness won out this month. It’s not laziness. I work as a gardener, and often I have to drive to work, which is a 35 or 50 minute drive, depending on where we are working on any particular day. Sometimes the work can be physical, sometimes its problemsolving, and sometimes its an easy day, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not tired at the end of the day.

And to top it all off, I’ve taken on a job to help out a local packhouse for 4 hours in the evening. I’m looking forward to that, but again, its going to cut into my writing time, and will leave me extra tired. So I’m going to have to be really vigilant that I don’t give too much of myself and that I recover.

Which means, that I have this month to really get my organisation skills on spec and actually get the story edited. Which is totally doable, just need to really knuckle down and actually do it.

Life sometimes really kicks my butt, but I’m slowly getting back on my feet. Covid made me extremely tired, and it has taken a while to be back to my pre-covid levels, but even then I was tired a lot. I’ve done blood tests, and nothing is unusual, but a lot of it can be from my depression. And I’ve only just accepted in the last year that its ok to nap. Might be finding more interesting places to nap now.

Anyway, enough procrastinating. Back to writing.

Take care, kia kaha


A week that wasn’t

Last Monday, I forgot to blog, because Monday wasn’t a holiday, and we know how much Monday and I get along.

However, we were getting weather warnings about Cyclone Gabrielle that was bearing down on New Zealand. Northland and Auckland had already been hammered the week before with a month’s worth of rain in a couple of days and severe flooding had occurred.

All eyes were on Cyclone Gabrielle, with warnings for Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington, Marlborough, Kaikoura and Nelson / Tasman.

We were lucky. Nelson, Tasman m Marlborough and the west coast of the North Island escaped the worst of the rain and wind, which is really surprising. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday wondering if we were going to have the gale force winds and rain forecast. Instead, Northland, Auckland, and Hawkes Bay were inundated, with the worst of the damage in one of my favourite parts of our country.

Napier, Hasting, Gisbourne all suffered extensive damage, with some communities still without power and contact – cellphone infrastructure failed, and over 4000 people are still considered as missing.

11 people have died, and the toll is expected to increase.

This sort of thing doesn’t happen here, it happens in overseas, in the Pacific Islands, Caribbean Islands, the US, UK, Europe, not here on our own Country.

While we escaped damage, I feel for those communities that are now in limbo, unable to move forward until power and communication has been re-established, clean ups begin and lives are put back together.

I try not to focus on the news, with regular updates on the progress of locating people, accessing communities, the climbing death toll. I feel lucky, but sad. Such conflicting emotions are hard to express at this time.

If you live in an area damaged by the Cyclone, I pray that you are able to get back on your feet quickly and able to mourn the loss of your home and possessions and able to return and a resolution to your problems comes promptly.

Kia kaha (Stay Strong) New Zealand Aotearoa


Waitangi Day / New Zealand Day

Today, 6th February is Waitangi Day. It used to be called New Zealand Day, but legislation in the 1970s changed it to Waitangi Day. Waitangi is a quaint place in the North Island, where the chief’s of the northern Maori tribes came together and signed an agreement (Treaty) with the then Queen Victoria’s representative, in order for both parties to co-govern New Zealand.

There’s a bit of history behind the Treaty. The French had moved into the South Island, around Banks Peninsula, and the English wanted to sign an agreement to have control of the country. They wrote up a constitution, and as a result, they decided to work with the natives instead of trying to wipe them out, like they had tried to do in other countries that the English colonised.

Maori didn’t believe in land ownership. They saw themselves as guardians of the land, and wanted to make sure that the resources were available for future generations. As the English came in and settled the land, they were pushed further and further from their tribal lands.

Unfortunately, the English got greedy, and broke the agreements of the treaty, and not long after, a war broke out, which the English called the Maori wars, but it was a land grab by the English. It was easier to blame the natives and take land than to pay them for it.

For years, there was disagreement and unease between the English and the Maori, until the goverment decided to settle the grievances that the tribes had, and called it Treaty settlements, where Maori tribes are reimbursed for the land that was confiscated during this time.

Today, because the Treaty was signed on 6th February 1842, and became the birth of our nation. Personally, I would like to see Treaty settlements completed and then our nation, Aotearoa New Zealand, can finally become one nation, and one people; New Zealanders. Not Maori, not European, Asian or any other race. We will be one people, where some of us will have tribes, some will have clans, and some will have families, but we will be recognised, not by the colour of our skin, but by the nation that we become and stand for.

I don’t consider myself European, I am fourth generation New Zealand born. I come from Viking, Irish and Scottish clans, and families from England. I can’t claim any Maori blood, but New Zealand culture runs through my veins.

I write about Maori mythology in my stories, I love the stories of taniwha (guardians of waterways), Manaia (a messenger that moves between the spirit and earth realms), Patupaiarehe (a mountain fairy) and Atua (evil spirit). Mythical creatures that have an intricate part of Maori culture. The Maori have an intricate history, their language was verbal and stories were passed down by song or storytelling. I like to think that I can extend those legends and stories and share them with the world.

I value New Zealand, I value our culture, and I dream that one day, we will become guardians of the land, ensuring resources for future generations.

A day behind already

Yesterday was Nelson anniversary day, and it felt like a Sunday, so I didn’t blog, but today is now Tuesday, and it feels like a Monday.

Now Monday’s and I don’t get along very well. I normally have to take a sleeping pill on Sunday night otherwise I am awake half of Sunday night mentally preparing for Monday. At least with a sleeping pill, I can get some sleep.

I’ve had some pretty rough Monday’s. One morning, I was extremely tired, and was at work. I opened up the door of the work truck, and straight into my face. My cheek felt like it had split in two. It hadn’t, just felt like it. I had slight bruising around my eye-socket for the week.

Another Monday, at another job, I got the work trailer caught on the gate, which flicked the trailer into the diesel tank, opposite the gate. We had to siphon out the fuel and straighten the tank.

I could list lots of other things that go wrong on a Monday, but its Tuesday, and I’m trying to stay positive that today will be a good day. It has to be.

Anyway, writing-wise, I didn’t get my preliminary editing finished, but that’s okay. The weather was pretty iffy all weekend, but I just enjoyed having a relaxing time. I should get it done in the next couple of days, then I can delve deep into the full on edits. I’ve found area’s I can work on, to extend the humour, or just to flesh out the characters and the situation they are in. I’m enjoying coming back into this story, and look forward to getting it finished.

How does your week look?

Until next time



Editing a book can be the most boring and annoying part of the process, but I have actually started to enjoy it. While away at the Romance Writers conference in August, I met Rachael Herron, who is an amazing writer and now lives in New Zealand. She gave a really interesting talk on editing, and the many processes that she goes through. She uses sticky notes to make notes on what she wants to change, and then reads through them everytime she edits her book, so that she can keep them fresh in her mind.

I love sticky notes, I am addicted to them, and I have lots (and I mean LOTS) of them. And I discovered a use for them, other than collecting them. Creating notes for my editing. Basically I read through and make notes as I go, which are put on sticky notes and then I can use these to list the changes that I want to make, or to ask questions that need to be clarified in the story further.

Then when I go a deep edit, I use these notes to really nail down problems, create more content, and generally finish the story, polishing it.

It means that I’ve read the book about three times by the time I’ve finished editing, but I am very familiar with how I want the story to go, and how the characters interact, and tightened up the plot.

I think editing is probably the hardest part of writing, because sometimes you have to throw things out, but if you’re anything like me, as a writer, we keep multiple copies of everything, just in case that scene could be used somewhere else.

Hope you have a good week.

Take care



I love to research. I don’t know what it is, whether its learning something new, or discovering new areas of interest, I can’t say. All I know is that I will often research a topic that I’ve heard about or for a storyline. For instance, my new story that I want to right, the main character, Sam, discovers that she is adopted when her sister dies. So, I’ve been researching adoption and what sort of effects it has on people and discovered that there is a whole lot of information about Late Discovery Adoptions, which is where the adoptee, the person who was adopted, didn’t find out until they were an adult, quite often into their thirties and beyond. It is an actual thing and referred to as LDA. It is quite life changing for many of them, and they’ve often felt like they’ve been lied to, instead of having to face the adoption issue as they grow up and accept it, they are suddenly not sure of who, or what they are anymore, and have an identity crisis.

I’m also researching an illness for my other story and have lined up a couple of people who have been through it, so I can talk to them about their experiences, find out what course of action was taken, and how they got through their illness. It’s like learning about another aspect of a person that I haven’t experienced before, learning something personal about them, and defining a new depth of friendship.

Being someone who has a lot of empathy, I feel for all the people that I have studied, or researched, or talked to. I feel their pain, joy, relief, sadness and I hope that I can accurately show that in my stories. Show how they feel, what they are thinking, how they react.

More research to be done, but things are progressing well, and I feel like I am nearly ready to start plotting one of the books.

In the meantime, I am doing a brief review of compromising Positions, finding problems that need addressing, which I can sort out in the full indepth edit that will follow. Its a great opportunity to add more information and make the story shine just that little bit more.

That’s my week taken care of, how is yours going? Hope its productive.

Thanks for checking in.


Getting Busy in 2023

So, a new year has ticked over. They are certainly going fast. My little baby is 18 now and not so little. He’s finished school and now trying to decide what he wants to do with his time. I can only give him guidance, as he is an adult now, I can’t tell him what to do anymore.

So, last year turned out to be a relatively successful one for me. I managed to get 2 stories written, 2 edited, and one to be edited – that’s 3 stories! One of the stories I did write some time ago, but decided that I needed to refresh it, and try to boost the word count. I didn’t succeed, but I’m still happy with the story. I’ve been in touch with an editor, but I’m not totally sure that I’m ready to let it go yet.

Most exciting news I had was passing Second Hand Daughter onto an agent who was keen to read it. She has since declined the story, but I will continue to look for a home for it, and if nothing comes from it, then I will self publish, so will keep you updated on this. Second Hand Daughter is about a woman who’s husband is killed in a car accident, with another woman. I loved how the story evolved, and I hope that you guys do too.

I am currently editing Compromising Positions. This is my romcom, and I have an agent and an editor keen to read this, so need to get my editing pants on and work hard on this one. Just got it to the point now where I can do some editing.

I have two story ideas that I want to develop this year, which I am excited about. One is a follow on in my Finding Yourself series, and the other is a stand alone Christmas story. It probably won’t be ready for Christmas this year, but I’m not too worried about that. It requires a bit of research, and I’ve been in touch with a couple of people who are helping me with this one.

Another story that I started years ago has also decided that it wants to be continued, but this is a bigger story, in fact its a series, a urban paranormal series, based in New Zealand. Its rather epic, so it will take some time to pull together and gather the threads of the story together, because it will be more than two books, maybe more than three, I don’t know yet. Just working on the characters and getting the background for this together.

To top it all off, I have decided I need to be more active on social media, sending out newsletters and blogging etc. It’s not my favourite thing to do, but I want to start developing a presence and getting to know and interacting with my readers more. Please feel free to get in touch on any of my social media accounts.

So that is what I have planned for this year. What goals have you set for yourself?

Kia kaha