Monday, June 3, 2013

(Some of) My literary idols

Disclaimer: There are literally thousands, tens of thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands of authors who have fantastic prose, worlds, ethics, and lifestyles that due to the limited number of hours in a day and years in a life I will never come to know. I wish I was immortal, but alas, this is based on my own (very limited) world view.

Before the Indie Revolution struck, my writing idols were (and they still are) Isobelle Carmody and Sara Douglass, who are two Australian fantasy authors. They both have very successful careers that in Sara’s case spanned decades, and hopefully Isobelle’s will span many more. I “met” Isobelle in 1998, when I was 12 or 13 and found her first book, Obernewtyn, in the school library. It had a frankly horrible cover, but I picked it up anyway, and got sucked into her world. I found Sara a year or two later when I stumbled across BattleAxe in that same school library. I’ve been fans of both ever since, and was extremely saddened by Sara’s untimely death in 2011 from cancer.

I’ve always looked up to both authors. They’re both quite prolific, but have a rather different approach. Sara always struck me as a bit more “business-like”, if you will. She’d start a series, and then publish a book every year or two until it was finished. Then she’d start a new series.

Isobelle seems to follow her muse a bit more. Her first book, Obernewtyn, was published in 1987. She started writing it in 1972. That series still isn’t finished. The next 6 books were published at intervals ranging from 3 years to almost 10 years. In the meantime she’s published six standalone novels, started four other series (totaling ten published books), and three collections of short stories.

Isobelle splits her time between Prague (her partner is Czech) and her house on the Great Ocean Rd, sort of near where I grew up. I love reading her insights and blog posts. She’s very much an artist.

Sara had an amazing garden. I often enjoyed reading her posts about her garden and her quest towards self-sufficiency. I love to garden and can’t wait to have one of my own (only so much you can accomplish with pot plants on a balcony).

I always thought I’d like to be a mix of both of them.

Since sticking my feet in the Indie pool about a year ago, I’ve been exposed to some amazing people.
Elle Casey amazes me with her hard work and mad prolific skills. She writes and publishes a full-length each month. Each and every month. That’s amazing. And they’re good too. She also lives in the south of France with her family. Awesome much?

Hugh Howey writes great stories. He’s found great success as well, and he’s also an amazingly nice guy! He hasn’t let the fame and success go to his head at all, and he’s still really nice and helpful, genuine and humble. If we’re being honest, I have a bit of an author-crush on him!

There are many, many other authors who hang out at the Writer’s CafĂ© at Kboards who are extremely nice, helpful and inspiring – this post would be ridiculously long if I named them all. It’s always uplifting when another author announces that they’re now making more than enough money from their writing to quit their day job and follow their dreams of writing full-time. I hope to follow in their footsteps one day, not too far away! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Welcome to the wider world!

The Last Day on Earth is now available on Kobo and Barnes&Noble!

For Kobo lovers, you can get the novella here, and Nook here!

iTunes to come soon.

While Select was fun and gave me a good jump start, I think it's better in the long term to have my books widely available, instead of exclusively with Amazon.

Happy reading.

ETA: It's now on iBooks as well :-)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Memoirs are easy. Good memoirs are hard.

Writing about events that really happened in your life is a lot harder than I imagined. Wait, no, writing about them is easy. Writing something interesting about them is hard.

 For quite a while, I’ve wanted to write a book about my family’s experiences in Kiribati. Back in 1996, my parents packed up the family and plonked us down on a tropical third world island smack bang in the middle of the Pacific. We were meant to be there for two years, but after 7 months, just as we were all finally acclimatising (well, maybe not my brother, who was covered in a permanent heat rash and infected mosquito bites), settling in, making friends and falling in love with the place, my sister Jen got really sick, and we had to come back to Australia so she could be treated and they could figure out what was actually wrong with her. We were only there for seven (or was it six? Must check with Mum on actual dates) months, but a hell of a lot happened during that time.

I think it would make for an interesting read.

As long as I can write it properly. It’s all too easy to start narrating (boring) instead of showing. I’ve caught myself a few times just summarising events and conversations, instead of showing them and playing the situation out.

I’ve been struggling to find my voice, the right voice for this project, but I’m getting there. I’m aware now when I start saying something along the lines of ‘we did this and then we did that then we went here…’ that I need to quickly hit the Backspace button and step closer to the event, make the reader feel like they’re too.

It’s also a bit hard to get back into the mindset of my ten year old self. I do have a diary that I kept while we were there, but damn it’s boring and not very detailed!

 (Note to self: Make current journal more interesting for sake of future self.)

This project is definitely a challenge for me, but it’s also fun (and at times frustrating, when I read back on what I’ve just written and realise that I’ve somehow managed to turn something exciting into a yawn fest), and I’m learning and improving. I don’t want to leave this project incomplete too much longer – it’s already been 17 years since we were there. I don’t want to leave it 20 years!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Foraying into the world of vlogs

I made my first vlog tonight! Just a bit of an intro - I talk about two milestones - hitting 200 sales, and my first 1-star review.

Check it out. For some reason the three options Youtube gave me as thumb nails all had my eyes closed in them :-/ I promise they're mostly open in the video. Accent sounds a bit weird to me - I think I was over-enunciating and trying to speak all proper-like so people could actually understand me, but I come off sounding like a wannabe-Brit! I will have to muck around so there's not so much background static in the next one.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yay, family!

On a writer’s forum that I frequent, there’s currently a thread about family – unsupportive family. Parents, siblings and cousins that just don’t get the whole writing thing, keep asking when the writer is going to get a “real job”, have never read any of the writer’s books, and just generally unsupportive. 

My family is the opposite. They’re great. They’ve all read my first novella. My mother bought 7 copies of it – one ebook and six paperbacks to give to various older family members who were all quite thrilled. My siblings were among my first readers – my brother even bought two paperbacks so he could give one to his mate. My Dad who hadn’t read a book since the 1990’s, downloaded mine and sat on the beach and read it in two hours. He’d previously warned me that it might take him a while to read it, but once he started he said he couldn’t put it down.

So, thank you for being awesome, oh family of mine. 

Up to 99 for March. One more, one more! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Time whooshing by

Time is flying by all too fast at the moment. I can hardly believe that it will be April next week. I feel like it was just Autumn and it's already Spring.

Time marches by too quickly when you do the same thing every day. Weeks are indistinguishable. That is something I love about travelling - when you're on the road, each day is vastly different and weeks stretch into infinity. My months in Europe, my weeks in America, my early months in Canada, my visits home to Australia all burn so much brighter in my memory than the past two years of being a "grown up" with a "real job", spending week in and week out at the same desk, with the same people, doing variations of the same thing.

In two days it will have been two months since The Last Day on Earth was sent out into the ethers. I'm happy with the progress so far. I've received some lovely reviews which give me a warm fuzzy glow. Sales have been good. Not spectacular, but not horrible either, and better than I expected. As of typing, I'm up to 168 paid sales; 95 of those occurring so far in March. I'm wondering/hoping if I can hit 100 for the month.

But I also need to stop thinking about that side of things (which can be hard) and just concentrate on writing. I have so many stories and idea clambering around, it can be hard to pick one and stick with it. New things always look so shiny.

Current things I'm working on:

- Last Day on Earth sequel
- The Many Facets of Amelia Roe
- Kingdom of Dogs
- random other stories that will probably never see the light of day.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Working on the sequel to The Last Day on Earth

I've had quite a few queries as to whether I will be continuing the story of Lucy in The Last Day on Earth

Short answer: yes.

I have no idea when the next installment will be released at the moment. I'll keep you updated.

If you'd like an email when it's released, you can sign up for my newsletter here. I'll only email you when I release a new book. Promise. No spam, pinky swear.