Thursday, February 26, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 27-2-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 
So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's been a crazy week what with discovering my publisher is closing.  But I'm celebrating how smoothly it seems to be going.  I've already got my rights reversion letter and I've been promised whatever royalties are outstanding as soon as statements from external vendors come in.  So while I'm obviously sad that my book will no longer be available until I decide what to do next, it's not the end of the world.  I've heard such horror stories about other small-press closures and how writers have struggled to get their rights and royalties out of them.  I feel lucky that Musa is being so professional.

The day job has been busy this week too, so I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend.  I have nothing planned, so I hope to get some writing done and read a couple of books.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Books I Loved - Grasshopper Jungle

This book is crazy.  Insane.  And not at all the kind of story anyone who knows me would expect me to like.  I usually run a mile from anything that even remotely resembles sic-fi, yet this book had me staying in the bath until the water was cold just so I could finish it.

It's about a boy who just might be in love with his best friend, but he has a girlfriend he also loves.  He has a crazy Polish family who just don't get him.  Oh, and he and his friend have somehow managed to set a plague of six-foot tall bugs loose on the town.  Bugs who only have two things on their minds: food and sex.

I think what is so compelling about this story is that it's so human.  The characters are very real, and their problems (outside of the giant praying mantises) are easy to identify with.  The bugs just add an extra layer of peril to everything.  And did I mention how funny this book is?

Here…  Read the blurb if I haven't convinced you.

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sad news

I got some sad news late on Friday night.  My publisher, Musa Publishing, have decided they can no longer continue.  So as of February 28th, An Unstill Life will no longer be available for sale.

The rights to the book revert to me, so there are a number of different possibilities for it, but in the short-term, if you want to read it, buy it before Friday.  I believe it will be on sale on the Musa website throughout the week.

I'm feeling very sad about the whole thing.  Musa have been lovely to work with, especially my editor, Jeanne.  But how I feel is nothing compared to how Jeanne and the rest of the Musa team must be feeling right now.  They have worked hard to make the business a success, but the publishing world is tough, and whatever they've done has obviously not been enough to keep the company afloat.

I hope all the team find new jobs that make them happy and I hope all the Musa authors find new homes for their stories, published and yet-to-be-published alike.

As for my own story, I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it yet.  It's something I need to discuss with my agent.  But I feel confident that it will be available in same shape or form again in the future.

You'll hear about it here first….

Friday, February 20, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 20-2-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 
So, what am I celebrating this week?

I finished revising my NA book.  It needs another pass or two, but I'm waiting for comments from my CPs before doing anything rash.  It's a short book (for me), so I figure I have room to expand wherever necessary.

Because I finished my revision last weekend, I've had a week off from writing which is always nice.  I find I need a little time after finishing a project to get my head into the right space to start work on another.  I've had a crazy work week, but I'm ready to start working on STUMPED again now.  I hope I can make this revision work

I have a busy weekend planned, with lots of time with friends.  I just hope I can squeeze in a little house cleaning as well or the place will be disgusting by next weekend.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Books I Loved - OCD Love Story

As promised, here's the first in my series of posts about books I've loved.  I decided to start with the one that really knocked my socks of last year, Corey Ann Haydu's OCD Love Story.

I read this on my phone and I usually only read on my phone while I'm on the bus.  While reading this book, I welcomed being stuck in traffic because I seriously couldn't put it down.  I even kept reading after I got off the bus, foregoing my paper books because I had to finish this one.

It's a really uncomfortable read.  Haydu so perfectly captures the mindset of someone suffering from OCD that even though as a reader you know what's happening isn't right, know that's it's all going to end badly, it all makes a twisted kind of sense.

It's a book that stuck with me for days after I read it.  It's raw and quirky and funny and sad all at the same time.

Here's the blurb in case my raving about it isn't enough for you to go rushing out to buy it….

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Weekly goals 16-2-15

I finished my revision on Sunday night (right on schedule, thank you very much) so I'm taking the week off from writing this week.  It's a busy one at work with traveling etc, so I thought I'd leave starting my next revision until I'm a little less frantic.

But I'll be thinking about STUMPED and how to make the changes I need to make work.  So hopefully when I actually get back to the book, I'll have idea what I'm doing.  Maybe….

Next week I'm also going to try and add an extra blog post every week where I talk about books I've enjoyed.  They won't be reviews as such, but each week I'll share a book I've read and talk about why I loved it.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 13-2-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 
So, what am I celebrating this week?
What are you celebrating this week?

The week being over, frankly!  It's been a really busy one.  We had a day out of the office for team building and policy work on Thursday, and it was quite exhausting!  Which is odd because you'd think a day away from work (at the zoo no less) would be more relaxing than a day in the office.   

I'm getting a haircut tomorrow and I'm quite ridiculously excited about it. It's been almost four months since my last one and the wind has been whipping my hair in my eyes for weeks now.  Time to get the whole mop lopped off.

I'm close to finishing my revision.  I hope to get it done over the weekend so I can start revising STUMPED next week.  It may be a slightly slow start since next week looks insane in terms of work with seminars, meetings and a trip to Auckland all on the cards.  But just making a start will feel like I'm on the right path.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekly Goals 9-2-15

Things are getting busy at work and the traveling part of the job is about to start, so I'm going to need to be organized if I'm going to get all the stuff done I want to get done.

I have 10 chapters left of my NA book to revise.  My goal is to get these done this week.  I've been managing 2 chapters a day the past couple of weeks, so I figure I can knock out 10 by Sunday.  Then I'll leave the book alone for my CPs to tear apart.

While I wait for them to finish their critiques, I'm going to dive into more revisions, this time on STUMPED.  I have some excellent notes from my agent, but it's going to be a fairly large revision.  I foresee adding at least another 5-10K in the process. Luckily STUMPED is still relatively short. For me, anyway…

And in real life stuff, I'm hoping to maintain 3-4 trips to the gym a week, even when work is crazy.  I think that's going to be the hardest thing on my list to achieve….

What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Celebrate the small things 6-2-14

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 
So, what am I celebrating this week?

Public holidays!  Today is Waitangi Day here in New Zealand so we got a day off.  Although, having had so many holidays recently, I kind of wish we could save this one until later in the year when we REALLY need it.

The kids went back to school yesterday after their long summer break (crazy when today is a holiday - they get one day of school then a 3 day weekend) and it was definitely time.  Definitely

I've revised fifteen chapters of my NA book, and hope to get through another four or five over the weekend.  I really want to get this revision done because I got notes from my agent today about STUMPED, and I can't wait to dive back into that book and polish it up for submission.  Anyone who has been here a while will now it's my favorite of all my books, and I really want it to have a chance out in the world.

So poor NaNo book is going to have to wait to be revised (again).  I can't see my STUMPED revisions taking more than a month if I focus properly (which could be a challenge with how busy my work has already gotten) and go in with a clear plan as to how I'm going to attack the changes.  Having already been through the revision process with my agent once, I'm feeling a lot more confident going in this time because I know what she's looking for.

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekly goals 2-2-15

The holidays are well and truly over, so it's time to get serious and knuckle down to achieve my goals.

This week looks like it's going to be a busy one at work, but since it's a public holiday on Friday, I make get to make up for the writing time I've missed tonight because I had to bring some work home with me.  Fingers crossed, anyway….

My goal for this week is to revise another ten or so chapters of my NA book.  I've done 13 so far, so I feel like 10 per week is a good goal.  If I manage that for the next two weeks, I should get through the whole book by mid-February.  Then, while my CPs read through that book, I'll start revising my NaNo novel.

What are your goals this week?