Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy 2015!

Here in New Zealand we're now winding down the first day of 2015, so I figured it was time for my yearly letter to myself.  This is the sixth year I've done this, and it's always interesting to go back at the end of the year to see how many of the things I planned to do, I actually did (see my last post).  So here's my 'dear me' letter for 2015.  I'll review how things are going in June, and again at the end of the year….

Dear Me,

Before I go ahead and outline my plans for the year ahead, I feel like I need to look back on the year that has just been.  It felt like a hard year, and there was so much I didn’t enjoy about 2014, yet in many ways it has been the most successful year I’ve had in a long time.  I think my dissatisfaction was largely because I really didn’t enjoy the job I had for much of the year.  It was tiring and demanding and very unsatisfying and that left me so drained that it was hard to motivate myself to write at the end of every day.  So I haven’t produced the amount of work I’m used to producing in a year.

But at the same time, 2014 was the year my first novel was published and the year I got an agent.  And right at the end of the year, I got a new job that is already making me so much happier than my old one.

Going into 2015, I’m excited about my new job.  It’s going to be challenging, but I think I’m going to enjoy that.  I’ve been doing the same thing for so long, it’s refreshing to be going into a job where I’ll have new responsibilities and a variety of different people to work with throughout the year, as well as a variety of different tasks and responsibilites.

With weekends and evenings free (for the first time in 23 years), I plan to set myself a regular writing schedule, with enough flexibility that I can still go out every now and then without feeling guilty about missing a writing day.  I figure a 5-day a week schedule will work because at the speed I generally write, I can guarantee 7500 – 10 000 words a week while drafting.  Revising is usually a lot slower, but I still usually manage a chapter or two a night, depending on how much rewriting and adding new scenes is needed.

I’m still drafting my NaNo novel, but it’s almost finished. It’s going to need a lot of revising because it’s really just a bare bones draft and so much of the story and characters have come into focus as I’ve written the book.  And the story has taken me in some interesting and unexpected directions as I’ve written it.  Once the draft is done, I’m going to leave it for a few weeks before diving into revisions.

While I let the NaNo book settle, I plan to finish the NA I’ve been working on off and on for the last year or so.  It doesn’t need a ton of work since most of it is done, but it needs some polishing and my CP’s eagle eye over it before I will feel comfortable sending it out into the world.

So the plan for this year is to finish the NA and this year’s NaNo book, plus I have another story idea I’m excited to write.  Once the other two are done, I’ll write this one (it’s also an NA story, I think…)

Another reason my productivity has been low in 2014 is that I’ve had other things going on. An Unstill Life published in January and keeping up with publicizing it has taken up quite a bit of my already limited writing time.  I have also been doing revisions on another book so my agent can take it out on submission early this year. 

I’ve found switching focus between projects is challenging for me and I have trunked a novel this year because somehow, in between editing and publicity and revising other things, I lost what I was trying to do with the book.  I need to get over this problem because if I’m going to have a writing career, this is going to happen a lot.  There will always be times when a WIP has to be dropped for edits or revisions, and I need to be able to pick back up without feeling lost in my text.  I’m not sure quite how to do this….

In 2014 I didn’t manage to be as present for my crit group as I wanted to be.  This year I will endeavor to be more regular with my critiques.  I love this group and they are a huge part of my writing journey, so I need to give them the same attention they give me.

I didn’t manage to lose any weight in 2014, so once again I’ll list it in my ‘to-dos’ for 2015.  I have a plan for regular trips to the gym and exercise during lunch-breaks, not to mention a diet plan I hope to have the will power to stick to.  I’ve managed to keep my weight the same over the last few years because my job has been quite physical, with a lot of time on my feet.  Now that my job is mostly sedentary, and the bus takes me pretty much right there, I need to really focus on diet and exercise if I don’t want to blow up like a balloon.

And that’s about it for 2015.  I’m sure things will come up that I’m not expecting, and some will be wonderful and others less so…  I’ll check in mid-year to see how things are tracking.

Love, Me.

I hope you all manage to achieve everything you wish to in 2015!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Year's End Check In

2014 is coming to a close so it's time to look at the resolutions I made at the beginning to see how I did. So here is a copy of the letter I wrote myself at the beginning of the year, with my comments in blue italics.

Dear Me,

Before I launch into the goals for 2014, I think I need to reflect on 2013 and its successes and failures.  2013 was a year of highs and lows.  The same day I signed my first publishing contract, I lost my job.  Luckily I managed to find a new job within a few weeks, so it wasn’t a huge problem financially, but after over eight years in the one place, being told to leave hurt.

The job thing has changed again.  That new job I found at the end of 2013 really didn't suit me at all and I wound up accepting a voluntary redundancy there when they restructured the management team.  Luckily I got another job quickly and am now very happily (so far) employed by the government agency that funds and supports local film making.

But on the upside, I have a published book now!  Or will on January 3rd.  And that launches me into the first of my goals for 2014.

I will do whatever I can to make An Unstill Life a success.  I don’t expect to make a fortune, of course, but the idea that my book will be available to readers is a thrilling one, and I want to make sure as many readers as possible discover Livvie’s story.  I’m uncomfortable about promoting myself, so doing publicity for my novel will definitely take me outside my comfort zone.

Not sure how to measure this one.  I've done a lot of work to push the book and it's on going, but I wouldn't exactly call it a success.  I've sold few hundred copies, and while that's more than just my friends and family, it's not what I'd call a best-seller.  But the reviews have been generally good, and I've had a couple of lovely emails from readers who loved the book, so I'm reasonably content. It's even been nominated for a couple of awards!

Last year I wrote a book called STUMPED.  It’s YA, but deals with sex and disability in a way I’ve never seen in YA literature before.  I love this book.  It’s my favorite of all the titles I’ve written and I really want it out in the world.  I stopped querying when I got the contract for An Unstill Life because my writing time was suddenly taken up with revisions and edits and copy edits.  In 2014 I will resume querying this one and hopefully will find an agent brave enough to take me (and Ozzy) on.

Funny how things work out…  I did query STUMPED some more, and I got a lot of interest. I even got an  R & R request which I did and feel like the book is stronger for it, but it did not end up getting me an agent.  Yet I am now agented, thanks to a contest and an older MS that I pitched because I felt like STUMPED had done the rounds a fews too many times.  So I have achieved that goal over the year, just not in the way I thought it might happen.  And my agent is currently reading STUMPED, which has me a little nervous given how different it is to The Sidewalk's Regrets which is what she signed me for.

I got 50K into a new book last year.  It’s title-less right now, so I’m calling it Lana.  It’s not the best thing I’ve written, but there are definitely some things I like about it.  In 2014 I will finish this story, revise it and throw it into the hands of my critique group to figure out how to polish it up.

This book ended up being called Finding Lana Jones and I did finish it and I did start getting critiques on it.  Somehow though, I lost the spark that started me writing it in the first place and found myself foundering around as I revised.  So I trunked it and moved on.  Maybe I'll come back to it another time and figure out what I was trying to do and say with the story because it's lost to me now.

While they sink their teeth into that one, I have a new story idea just itching to get out.  It’s based on something that my new boss has been involved with over the past few months, and I think it could be very interesting, not to mention emotionally draining.  It’s hard not to get too excited about new ideas, but I really want to finish Lana before I start this one.

I did write this story.  It ended up being my NaNo project and the first draft is not quite finished.  I hope to get this done before I go away in January so I cam come back after my yearly trip to the beach house and revise the huge mess I know it is.

My critique groups are the best thing that ever happened to me, and I plan to be far more active in them this year.  With all the excitement and deadlines that rushed at me with my publishing contract, I don’t feel like I have been giving my CPs nearly the time they deserve.  So even if it’s just one review a week, I’ll become more active in my groups again.

This happened sporadically.  Some weeks I managed several reviews, others, none.  But I'm still in there and I still value my CPs as much as I ever have.

I’m not quite sure how I managed it, but I read 165 published books last year.  I did write less than I have in previous years, so I imagine that’s how I did it.  This year I plan to finish two novels as a writer, so I’m only going to shoot for 150 books read.  We shall see how that goes.  My bus ride to work is shorter now, so my reading time is a little more limited than it has been…

Yup.  Done.  Not quite sure how, but I've read as much this year as last, and with two more days to go until the end of the year, I may even get closer to 170 this year.

On a personal level, I will continue my regular trips to the gym.  Between them and the steep uphill walk to work each day, I figure I’m in the best shape of my life.  But that doesn’t mean I get to be complacent.  I could still stand to lose 5-10Kg…

I've stuck to my gym schedule for the most part, but I've lost  no weight.  With my new job being sedentary, I'm going to have to be way more conscious of food and exercise if I don't want to end up even huger by next Christmas!

Well, that’s about it for now.  I’ll check back mid-year to track my progress, and then again as 2015 begins sneaking toward us all.

Happy New Year!  And may you reach all your goals for 2014.

Love, Me.

How have you done with your 2104 goals?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Celebrate the small things 26-12-14

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?


We made it through Christmas Day yesterday and I'm now looking forward to a nice, relaxing nine days of holiday.  I plan to clean the house from top to bottom, go to the gym every day and get some much-needed writing done.  I also want to spend some time with the kids because they go away the day after I go back to work .

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday too!

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekly Goals 22-12-14

Let's face it….  It's Christmas week, so aiming to get anything much done except eating and unwrapping gifts and then cleaning up is foolish.  So I've set aside my MS for the week so I can fully focus on the other things that need my attention - like my kids.

I finish up at work tomorrow and don't go back until January 5th which is a nice little break.  Especially considering I've only been in the job 3 weeks!  But I plan to use the break wisely.  We are going to do a whole house spring clean, top to bottom, inside and out.  It might take the whole break….

After all the Christmas madness is over (next Monday, I promise) I will get back into my WIP. I hope to have this first draft finished by mid-January when I go away for a week.  Possibly even sooner.  But either way, I will let it rest while I'm in the South Island, then start revising when I get back.  And it's gonna need a lot of revising….

What are your goals for this week?

Have a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrate!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Déjà Vu Blog Fest

The Déjà Vu Blog Fest is the brainchild of the wonderful DL Hammons who is also responsible for Write Club and Blog Blitzing.  It's an opportunity to recycle an old blog post that maybe didn't get the number of eyes across it as you hoped.

This post is one I wrote back in October and I think it's worthy of being re-seen…

I've been working on an older story of mine this week.  Just pottering around with it, trying to make it work.  And because I'm not sure it is working, I started posting the chapters I've finished tinkering with up for my critique group to tear apart.

I got my first piece of feedback on my first chapter yesterday, and it was 100% spot on.

My CP pointed out that I was opening my story too soon.  That by starting my book with someone sitting in front of a computer, bored by his homework, I was going to start the book by boring the reader.  Even though the inciting incident happens in this chapter, that first scene wasn't going to compel anyone to read on.

She then said that while the inciting incident is good, it happens too soon for the reader to care.  That she needed to know the character a little better before he had his world rocked.

I agree.

I'm usually accused of having opening chapters in which nothing much happens because I always like to let the reader meet the characters and get a feeling for their world before throwing the crap at them.  With this story I'd decided forego that and jump right into the action.  I should have trusted my usual storytelling instincts.

So I went back and wrote a new chapter one last night.  Not an enormous amount happens in it, but I think by the end of it you know Tony a lot better, and have some idea of the struggles he's going to face  as the book goes on.

Having good critique partners is essential.  I can't stress that more.  You need readers you trust, readers who aren't going to be afraid of hurting your feelings if they think your work stinks.  You also need to be ready for critique, ready to accept that your work isn't as flawless as you'd like to think.

But more on that next time...

Do you have critique partners you trust?

Monday, December 15, 2014


I was at a wedding over the weekend and it made me think a lot about community and the very different groups of people we choose to surround ourselves with.  A wedding is one of the few events or places where people can bring together all the different communities we belong to.

In my life I have several, distinct communities.

First there's family.  They're a ready-made community and they're there regardless of choice.  I'm lucky that my family isn't too dysfunctional and for the most part we all get along reasonably well.  And I'm including my partner's family under that umbrella too.

Then there's my work community, the filmmakers and distributors and cinema people I deal with on a regular basis.  The people who work with me in the office and anyone who has ever worked with me in the past.  This is a community that grows and changes as people move around and change jobs, myself included.

Then there's the 'mum' community.  The people I've made friends with through my kids.  Some of these women have been my friend since the kids were babies, others I've met more recently through friendships my children have made at school.

And I can't forget the music community.  This is the one that introduced me to my partner, so it's one that is very dear to me.  And since music is one of my great passions, it's one I work to maintain.  A lot of the people in this community are not in the city I live in, so keeping in touch with everyone can be challenging.  The internet helps.

And finally there's my writing community.  This exists almost exclusively online, but is probably among the most important communities to me.  I can't imagine a week without chatting with my critique group or emails from my main CP.  I love emails from my agent and publisher. I love taking part in contests and helping newer writers navigate their way through the tricky waters of the publishing world.

The people I have chosen to surround myself with are the people who make my life complete and whole.  I can't imagine who I'd be without these people, so I value each and every member of every community.  But I can't see any occasion on which they would all come together in once space.  Maybe my funeral???

What communities do you surround yourself with?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 12-12-14

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?

I'm not sure if I'm celebrating or mourning, but I've cut just over 5K out of The Sidewalk's Regrets.  I'm still working on it, and hope to cut another 2K, but it's looking a little doubtful I'll get quite that far.  I have a few scenes I've marked as possible cuts, but my heart isn't really with them…  I guess I'll have to leave the final decision to my agent.

I got to see Nick Cave play on Monday night and it was awesome.  Not quite up there in my top 10 gigs ever because it wasn't the first time I've seen him, and while it was a fantastic show, it was seated and the other times I've seen him I've been right up in the front row with the spit and sweat spraying over me.  As far as I'm concerned, that's the best place to be at a live show, but for a seated show, we had good seats and I had fun.

I've made it through week 2 at my new job, and I'm enjoying it so far.  I like the people I work with, and that's always the most important thing.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Release Day for Last Will and Testament!

 It's here….

Yes, today is the release day for Dahlia Adler's NA romance, Last Will and Testament.  I know I've posted about this book before, but I'm so excited to help Dahlia launch it into the world.  She is such an amazing advocate for writers, this is the least I can do to repay her.

Plus, I've already had a chance to read the book, and it's good!  Really good.  You'll fall in love with Lizzie and Connor and really root for them to be together even when things look impossible.  But don't take my word for it.  The book is available now, so click on one of the links below and get it for yourself.

Title: Last Will and Testament
Series: Radleigh University 
Author: Dahlia Adler
Pub date: December 9, 2014
Buy links: Amazon B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

Blurb: Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Weekly goals 8-12-14

This week's goals involve cutting words, not making word count.  My agent asked me to make some cuts to The Sidewalk's Regrets before we take it out on submission, so I'm sifting through the book, looking for scenes and sentences and even single words I can cut out without losing anything important.  So far, I've managed to lose about 5K.  It may be all I can do, but I'd like to try and get another 2K or so out if I can.

Once I've finished cutting, I'll go back to my NaNo book and try to finish it.  I'd like to get done by Christmas so I can set it aside to rest until the kids go back to school at the end of January.  Not sure that's going to happen, but I'll give it a shot.

While My Murder Year is resting, I have an NA book I've been working on off and on over the past year, and I plan to try and get that finished over the summer holiday period.

I'm heading into my second week of my new job, so I'm hoping to start feeling like I have more of handle on what I'm doing….  And I hope to get some Christmas shopping done in my lunch-breaks.  I'm feeling pretty behind on that because I haven't really started.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 5-12-14

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?

I started my new job on Monday and I've had a good first week.  I definitely have a lot to learn, but I think I'm going to really enjoy it.  I've never worked a regular job with regular hours, so the prospect of having a whole two day weekend is pretty exciting too.  

I haven't made as much progress on finishing my NaNo book as I wanted to.  Earlier in the week I got notes from my agent about some cuts she thought I should make to The Sidewalk's Regrets, so I've been busily snipping bits out of that MS instead of writing new words for My Murder Year.  Cutting words is HARD!

On Monday I'm going to see Nick Cave play a solo show.  Having been a huge Nick Cave fan for almost 30 years, this is very exciting and I can't wait.

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekly Goals 1-12-14

With NaNo finished, I'm no longer writing like a madwoman, but I do want to reach the end of my book.  So my goal this week is to write my usual 1500 words per day and just plod my way to the book's conclusion.  I figure it's not too far away, and I'm hoping to finish before Christmas so I can enjoy some time off from writing around the holidays.

I started my new job yesterday, and boy do I have a lot to learn!  So a lot of my energy is going to have to go toward that over the next few weeks.  I think I'm going to really enjoy it, but at the moment it's a steep learning curve.  Also, I'm going to have to adjust to the new hours and try to fit my life around them. Finding time to go to the gym looks like it might be more of a challenge than I thought!

With December having arrived, I guess I have to start thinking about Christmas and gifts.  I shall have to be organized and figure out who I need to get presents for, and what to get them.

What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Celebrate the Small things 28-11-14

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?

Winning NaNo!  I just crossed the 50K line after writing just over 7K in one day.  I think that's my biggest word count in a single day ever.  I'm not saying they're good words, but they will be after a lot of revising.  But first I need to finish the book.  Although I did write the ending today.  I usually do it earlier in the process, but I've been struggling to figure out what the ending will be.  Then today, it all fell into place.

I have a new job too!  I start on Monday as a Marketing Executive at the New Zealand Film Commission.  I'm super-excited about it too.  After working in cinemas for most of my career, and as a chef for the rest of it, I've never had a job with regular hours and weekends free.  I feel like this new job will change my life in many ways.  And I'm really looking forward to working with all those talented local film makers.

I spent a couple of days in Auckland this week with my best friend.  She's starring in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the moment, and I got to see the show on Wednesday night.  It was fantastic, and she was the toughest Mary Magdalene I've seen yet.  But even better than seeing the show was just getting to have a chance to hang out with her again.  We don't see enough of each other.   

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekly Goals 24-11-14

This week I plan to win NaNo.  Yesterday I crept over the 40K mark, so I'm confident I can crack the 50K by Sunday.  The book won't be finished, but that doesn't matter.  I always knew 50K wouldn't finish my story.  My books always end up between 70K and 85K.

I'm going to Auckland tomorrow, so I know I won't get any writing done then, but I have a plan for the rest of the week that should get me over the finish line.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 21-11-14

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?

It's a little hard to be celebratory this week because I was made redundant at work.  It's the second time in two years, so it kind of sucks.  On the up side, without having to go to work, I've had a lot more time to write.  I'm almost back on track to finish NaNo on time.  

Yesterday I went to the library for the day and managed to knock out 5863 words.  I'm hoping for 2 more good days like that next week.  I'm pretty sure the book I'm writing is terrible, but at least I'm figuring out my characters and their voices.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Musings on the end of a career

Today marked the end of my career in cinemas.  It has been 23 years now, and it was with a mixture of sadness and relief that I walked through the theatre doors for the last time today after being made redundant for the second time in two years.

I never planned on a career in movie theatres.  I love movies, sure, but I always thought I’d be a filmmaker or an actor.  I went to drama school in London to make the second one a reality, and it was there I fell in love with film. Thank you, Museum of the Moving Image.... When my drama school class fizzled out because of the number of drop-outs, I decided to go to university instead, majoring in theatre and film.

In my first year, I joined the local film society and soon became a member of the committee.  One of the committee members’ jobs was to run the projectors for the society’s screenings.  In those days, most of the films we screened were from the society’s 16mm film library.  I quickly became confident in running the 16mm projector and eagerly waited for the days we had 35mm films so I could learn to project that too.

I volunteered to work for the International Film Festival and was given numerous chores from ticketing (in the days before computerized ticketing systems), publicity and marketing to carrying films between venues.

When a new cinema opened in the city, I was first in line to apply.  After a chaotic opening night, I was one of the first of the new staff to be picked as a supervisor.  I didn’t know it then, but my career was born on that night.

I only worked there a few months, as a supervisor and a projectionist, before disagreements with the management led me to leave.  It was temporary.  A year later I was called by the then-operations manager and asked if I’d like to return as assistant manager.  I accepted.

A year or so later, I took over as the manager when the then-manager left to pursue other things.

After that, apart from a six-month period when I moved to Sydney, I’ve managed cinemas.  I managed a large (and growing) complex in Melbourne for five years, then moved back to New Zealand after my first child was born and was headhunted for a role here.  I was at that job for over 8 years before being made redundant when the business changed hands for the third time in my tenure as manager.

I was lucky enough to get picked up by another local art-house almost right away.  But now, after a year there, restructuring of the management team has left me redundant again.

There have been so many changes to the film business in the time I’ve been in it, most significantly, the move from 35mm film to digital.  Reporting and ticketing has been computerized and is so much more efficient and easy.  The whole way films are released has changed, with almost every title going to almost every cinema in town.  With so much competition for people’s entertainment dollar, and the number of platforms films are now available on, audiences have shrunk and changed.  When I was a student, going to the movies was a very viable form of entertainment; almost every Friday night we went down to the Paramount for the late show.  Now students rarely go to the movies, preferring to download movies to their iPads or computers.

But there will always be a place for cinema.  There is nothing like sitting in the dark with a roomful of strangers, sharing the highs and lows of a great story playing out on the big screen.  Even after 23 years in the business, I still get a little thrill when the lights start to fade and the screen lights up.

Sometimes the film is great, other times disappointing.  But going to the cinema to see a film will always beat seeing it on a TV screen in my book….

Happy Release Day to The Weight of Destiny!

My good friend, Nyrae Dawn, has a new book out today.  And I'm lucky enough to have had her over to answer a few interview questions, and to tell us a little bit about her book The Weight of Destiny.

Hi Nyrae,

So nice to see you back here on Fiction and Film.

  • If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day? I think I would pick Laney from Facade because Adrian owns my heart. I would listen while he wrote and recited poetry for me all day. 

  • In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre? I think the tie to Virginia Woolf. Also Virginia's ongoing story she has within the book, if that makes sense. Her little snippets that start some of her chapters. 
  • What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging? I loved writing the growth with Ryder and Virginia. That was hard at the same time because I needed so much to get it right. 

  • Which of your characters is most like you? Virginia, all the way. 
  • Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you. I'm pretty shy. It's much easier not to come off that way online. 

  • What other interests do you have outside of writing? Reading. LOL. Movies, I used to scrapbook a lot too. 

  • Do you have a nervous habit when writing?  A guilty pleasure when writing?  (example: chew a pen to death or have a stack of Hershey’s kisses while you write) I like to write at the bookstore, does that count? I seem to get more work done there. 
Thanks for coming along, Nyrae.  Always good to see you.  Now, let's find out a little about your latest book.


When “crazy” runs in your family and your namesake is known for walking into a river with a pocket full of rocks, a girl kind of wants to avoid tempting fate at all costs. For Virginia Nichols, the only way to dodge that bullet is to be perfect at everything: school, student council, life. Too bad it’s all a lie, and underneath the perfection...Virginia is lost.

Ryder Blackstock knows a thing or two about being born into fate. The talents passed down from his father aren't exactly normal; instead of learning how to throw a fastball, he was taught to hot-wire a car like a pro and pick any pocket in sight. He’s got criminal blood, just like his old man. And as soon as he turns eighteen, he’ll be living life on the run with his dad.

When Ryder and Virginia meet on the beach, it seems they couldn't be more different. Soon they discover they’re both trapped in their lives—Virginia denying her fate, Ryder embracing his. Like the rocks in Virginia Woolf’s pockets, the weight of their destinies will pull them under. But being together brings out pieces of themselves they didn't know existed—pieces that make them want to take fate into their own hands and rewrite their destinies...if it’s not too late.

"Whenever I read Nyrae Dawn, I am reminded that words are her art, and she wields her paintbrush with all the skill of Rembrandt. The tender romance of Ryder and Virginia is palpable on the page, and the story sings with all the complexities of the interwoven plot. I read late into the night to finish this one, and once again, Nyrae has managed a masterpiece. LOVED." ~ USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Courtney Cole

"The Weight of Destiny unfolds like a storm. It is dark and electric and incredibly romantic. I lost and found myself. The characters are so vivid, so alive, you'll forget anything but them exists." ~ David James author of Between the Stars and Sky

"The Weight of Destiny is YA at its absolute finest. Nyrae Dawn flawlessly brought two seemingly broken characters to life and showed everyone deserves a second chance at love and life. This breathtaking storytelling will blow you away." ~ USA Today Bestselling Author Tiffany King

"The Weight of Destiny is art at its best, Ryder and Virginia canvasses on which the good and bad of life and love unfold in brilliant, true color." ~ Author Jamie Manning

Amazon link:

“You’re strong and beautiful.”
She chuckles softly and shakes her head.
“It’s just a different kind of strength. You are who you are, and you don’t care what people think. You don’t care that you’re sober at a party where everyone is drinking. You don’t give a shit if you’re the girl who leaves to do her homework, because it’s important to you.”
“Is it still strength if the reason behind it is fear?” She sounds like she’s drifting away, her voice getting softer and softer. I need to reel her back in, keep her close, so I roll to my side, lean my head into my hand and let my elbow prop me up. With my other hand, I brush her cheek with my thumb.
“I don’t know. You’re the smart one. Regardless, I know you’re strong.” Because I know she’s dealing with more than I’ve seen; I just don’t have a clear picture of what it is.
“We’re still different, though, so why me?”
Words get trapped in my throat. I can tell her it’s because of what I said—she’s beautiful and strong. I can tell her it’s because sometimes the loneliness in her eyes mirrors mine, only I didn’t know it was there before her. Maybe it’s to prove I won’t screw up with a girl like her the way Luke thinks I will. There are a million possibilities, not all of them good. The only thing that manages to come out is, “Because the weight isn’t as heavy when I’m with you.”
Her breath hitches. I let my fingers gently glide against her neck, her throat. When she speaks, I feel the words vibrate through my fingertips. It’s a crazy-wild feeling, and I want it to keep going, want to touch all her words.
 “The weight of what?” she asks.
I don’t know… I shrug. “Of everything.”
But it’s not my words that settle into my chest. It’s hers. Virginia shakes her head and answers her own question. “Of destiny.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekly Goals 17-11-14

This week it's all about catching up.  I'm about 9K behind in NaNo because I had 6 days where I had to revise for my agent instead of working on my new story.  But I'm back with the NaNo book now, and pumping to try and get back on track.

I was made redundant at work yesterday, so I should have more spare time to write before the end of the month.  I have it worked out in my head how I'll manage to hit the 50K by the 30th, but whether I actually manage to make the plan work or not is another question entirely.

You'll probably find me at the library a lot this week.

What are your goals for the week?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 14-11-14

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?

I managed to finish my revisions for my agent relatively quickly.  So my MS, along with some ideas of where I might be able to make significant cuts to it, were sent off on Thursday night.  I also sent her STUMPED to read, so now I'm sitting here biting my nails while I wait to see what she thinks of it.

Having finished the revisions, I dove back into my NaNo book yesterday and managed to whack out over 4K in a single sitting.  A couple more days like that, and I'll be back on track for finishing by November 30th. Fingers crossed I can find the time and energy for more 4-5K days.

It's been a hard week at work, so I'm celebrating it being over.

What are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekly Goals 10-11-14

My goal this week is just to get through it.  Some pretty bad stuff has happened at my day job today, so that's going to have to take the majority of my focus right now.

That said, I'm totally committed to getting the last tweaks to The Sidewalk's Regrets finished and back to my agent by Wednesday or so.

And after that's done, I want to try to get back on track with my new NaNo book.  I figure by Wednesday I'll be about 5 days behind, so I'll need to rack up a few 3K days to catch up.  Shouldn't be too hard, right?

What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things 7-11-14

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?

I hit 10K in NaNo last night.  Not amazing, but I didn't get started until Sunday night because I worked all of last weekend.  So I'm calling that a win.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I got notes from my agent this morning, so I need to drop my NaNo project for a few days to work through the few things that need fixing up in that book.  They're not huge things, so I'm hoping to get through them in a couple of days and then pick up the NaNo book again by Wednesday next week at the latest.  It may be too late to catch up, but I'll give it a shot.

Not much else to celebrate this week though.  It's been a long one, and not a lot of fun.  I won't go into the details because it's all too depressing.

What are you celebrating this week?