An Unstill Life

An Unstill Life
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunflower award!

I picked up this award from Tyrean Martinson at Tyrean's Writing Spot. Thank you, Tyrean!  I love awards, and this one is so pretty!

Each blogger who receives this award must give 11 random facts, answer 11 questions, and pass it on to 11 bloggers.


11 Random Facts:

1. My three favorite foods all start with A: avocado, asparagus and artichokes.
2: I went to school in four different countries: USA, New Zealand, Samoa and China.
3. As a result of my international schooling, my grammar tends to be a little confused and I have certain words I always spell the American way, and others I always spell the English way.
4. I love to take baths.
5. My kids both have middle names inspired by Westerns - Garrett and Wyatt.
6. My father spelled my name wrong on my birth certificate and my mother made him go back and change it.
7. I met my partner at a Halloween party where he was dressed as a woman and I was covered in fake blood.
8. The 9ish years I've been living in this house is the longest period of time I've ever lived anywhere in my life.
9. I still use a paper diary instead of a digital one.
10. I can't put down a book if I haven't read an even number of chapters.  If I don't have time to read a full chapter, I'll read a page or two into the chapter so I'm not leaving it on an odd number.
11. I see more than 50 movies a year, most years.

11 Questions with Answers

1. What’s the last sentence you wrote in a story? Recognizing the gesture, his obvious reluctance to shut away the instrument, my lips curve into a smile.  

 2. What was the last movie you watched? 20 000 Days on Earth
 3. Do you have a favorite quote? Always remember to party like a rock star
 4. Favorite food?           Pizza
5. Have you ever seen a shooting star?               Yes
6. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three books, which would you bring?               A blank notebook (and a pencil to write in it), A weighty classic I've always meant to read (War & Peace comes to mind, but I read that when I studied Russian Literature at college), A family photo album.
7. In real life, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned?            Modern
8. In fiction, which appeals to you more: futuristic, modern, or old-fashioned? (Other worlds count.) Modern.  I'm a contemporary girl all the way.
9. What’s the strangest thing hanging on your wall in your room? Panama snack dishes - a series of small plates with pictures of roosters in the center and the words 'Panama Snack Dish' written around the rim.  My guess i they're some kind of souvenir from Panama.  I found them in a junk shop in Paraparaumu....

10. What’s your favorite bird?   Pelican
11.  Robin Hood or King Arthur?   I loved both as a kid.  Can't say I've thought much about either in years.  But I think I'd go with Robin Hood.

Now, I'm supposed to bestow this honor on another 11 people, but I've passed these things on so man times now, I'm just going to offer it up to anyone who stops by to say hi.  So take this award and run with it.  Just leave me a comment saying you're taking it so I can stop by and see your answers to these questions and to learn 11 things about you.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Celebrate the BIG things. I have an agent!

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

So…  BIG NEWS time.  Oddly enough, the big news I first teased you about isn’t the BIG NEWS I have to share today.  But maybe I should start at the beginning of the story.  Well, not quite the beginning-that was about 7 years ago, and we’re not going back that far!

Anyhooo….  This year I’d kind of given up querying.  I had one published book that was taking a lot of my time as far as publicity etc went, and I’ve been trying to finish the book I was half-way through when I went on my small-press journey.  So rather than investing time on queries, I’ve been entering the odd contest here and there, and hoping for the best.

Late last month I entered a contest called Pitcharama on the Aussie Owned and Read website.  There were no requesting agents, but instead, publishers.  I entered THE SIDEWALK’S REGRETS because I felt like STUMPED had been out and about a lot recently.  And it got two requests!  I was thrilled and sent off the requested pages right away.  Within a couple of days, one of the small presses had asked for a full.  Four days later they offered a contract. 


But the book was also out with a few agents and I’d also entered the New Leaf Pitch Perfect Twitter pitch contest that had resulted in a partial, then full request.  So I asked the small press to give me 10 days or so while I contacted all the other people who had the book.  They agreed and I sent out a bunch of emails. 

I got a couple of quick passes, a promise that I’d hear back soon that never eventuated, and a very exciting email from an assistant agent saying she would get back to me by the date I’d given as a deadline.

That morning I got up to discover an email from said assistant saying how much she, and another agent, had loved my book.  But…  (there’s always a but…) there were a lot of things they thought could have been done better and wanted changed.

Once those things were laid out, I could see how they would make the book better.  I had one of those head-palm moments where you just say “d’oh!”. 

She also said she and the other agent would like to schedule a Skype call with me.

My heart started beating harder. I re-read the email about 50 times trying to figure out what it actually meant.  Was this The Call?  I couldn’t quite figure it out.

But I organized a time (something of a challenge due to the time difference) for the Skype meeting and I was all set up and ready to go about half an hour beforehand.  We started off talking about the book, and then a little way into the call, they offered me representation.

I was thrilled.  After 7 years of querying and 10 novels, I finally had an offer from an agent.

The rest of the call is kind of a blur.  I knew I should have a lot of questions, but somehow they all vanished from my brain as soon as I head the words ‘we’d like to offer you representation’.  But we talked a little longer, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to announce that I am now represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary, and also by Jackie Lindert who is the assistant agent at New Leaf who first saw my pitch and made the request.

Suzie was the first agent ever to request a full from me, way, way back when I had written a rather terrible historical romance.  So in a way, I feel like this was meant to be.  It just took a few years, and few novels, for it to actually happen.

My advice to every writer has to be: don’t give up.  Don’t stop writing and don’t stop sending your work out there.  Enter contests.  Do whatever you can to get your work in front of people.  It’s scary as hell, but if you want to get published, you have to do it. 

And I am so excited to dive into revising this book again, this time with the support and advice of my agent.  I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of saying those words… my agent.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On Sale!

Just a quick note to let you know that for the next few weeks my book, An Unstill Life, is on sale for just $2.99.

That's a bargain, that is!

So if you've been wanting to read it, but didn't want to fork out $4.99 on an unknown author, now's the time to take the plunge.

And if you read it, do let me know what you thought.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Film Festival

On Friday the Film Festival starts here.  This annual feast of international and local film is always a highlight of my year.  It's also usually the busiest 17 days of the year for me at work.

This will be my first festival at my new cinema and I have no idea what to expect - apart from it being different.

I worked my first festival in Wellington in 1993.  I was 20, a noob on the Film Society committee and eager to help out in any possible way.  I don't think I had any idea that 21 years later, I'd still be working the festival, and still loving it just as much.

There are so many films to see this year.  With kids and a very busy job, seeing everything I want to see, as well as all the things I need to see for work, is impossible.  But I have tickets to about 15 films, and I hope I actually make it to most of them.

15 films doesn't sound like a lot, especially from someone who used to regularly see 60+ in any given festival.  But times and responsibilities change...  I don't have the luxury of being able to spend whole days in the cinema, watching 5 films in a row, running between venues like a mad thing to avoid missing the opening credits.

I miss those days.

But I'm one of the luckiest people on earth because going to the movies is my job.  Okay, there are a lot of other, less exciting parts to my job, and some of them are not fun at all, but when I'm sitting in a packed theatre with a festival crowd just amping for the curtains to open and the lights to dim, I know I have the best job in the world.

I'm sure over the next few weeks I'll be on here commenting on the films I've seen, love 'em or hate 'em.  That's one of the great joys of a festival - so much of what you see is unexpected.  And I can't wait to be impressed.

Is there a film festival where you live?  Do you love it?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 18-7-14

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Well, despite my big tease last week, I'm still not in a position to share my big news.  Which is driving me up the wall.  But hopefully soon.  And hopefully it will be bigger and even better than I thought it might be!

One of my favorite singers, Kristin Hersh, is coming here in late August.  I've been supporting her for years now through her CASH Music project and as a reward or perk for doing that, I get to go see her play free!  I was so excited to get the email saying I'd be on the door list!  I've seen her a few times and she's always awesome, whether she's doing a solo set or playing with one of her bands.

I haven't managed a whole lot of revising this week, but I'm feeling quite good about the stuff I have done.  I feel like I may need to go back and work a few threads through more strongly so by the time we get to this point in the story, the emotional connections are stronger.  But I'll wait to see what my CPs say before going back again.  At this point, moving forward is the important part.  I can go back later.

What are you celebrating this week?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cloaked In Fur on sale!

One of my awesome and most long-serving (and perhaps long-suffering) CPs has had a book out for a while now.  I took part in her cover reveal last year, and was a part of her launch, so if the title Cloaked In Fur sounds familiar, that is why.

But now, Cloaked In Fur is on sale!  You can get it for just .99c right now.  So go out there and buy it now.

This is a fast paced, exciting spin on the werewolf genre. Daciana is a conflicted heroine, torn between her love of a human and her loyalty to her pack. With her final transformation to wulfkin only days away, the tension between her loyalties gives the story an urgency that keeps the reader turning pages.

With a mutant dracwulf loose in the Romanian city she lives in, the suspense and action remains at a high level throughout.

Daciana is a tough woman, but not to the point that she's essentially a male character in drag. Her emotions are explored fully, adding depth and tension to the story. We get a real sense of what's pulling her from each of the two worlds she inhabits. How she'll chose between them, or combine the two makes for a real page turner!

But don't take my word for it.  Go get it for yourself.  It's only .99c!

And to make it easy, here are all the places you can get it!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Googleplay

Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 11-7-14

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

My back is much better.  I can walk and move around without being in severe pain, and as long as my customers don't want white wine, I can work perfectly happily too.

I managed to get tickets to see Nick Cave play when he's here in December.  It wasn't easy either!  They sold out in no time.  I am SO, SO excited about this.  I have seen him a few times before, but given I've been an uber-fan for almost 30 years, not as many times as I would have liked.

My pitch was selected by the lovely Authoress for her blog-hop critique round and I've had pretty fabulous comments on both my logline and my first page.  If you're interested, they're in the post below.

I also got some other very exciting news this week, but I can't share it yet.  Which is always super frustrating.  But hopefully by next Friday I'll have all the wrinkles ironed out and will be able to tell you all.  So pop back then....

What are you celebrating this week?