Saturday, 22 October 2011

HARVEST MOON is now available for the Kindle!

Once a year at the Harvest Moon, Rowen is reunited with the spirit of the boy she loves. Every year they have one night together, and then Blake returns to limbo. Every year Rowen knows she should let them both move on...but she can't.

This year she might not have a choice.

Find it here on Amazon US and here on Amazon UK. It's a perfect, spooky little love story for Halloween, and you can read an excerpt here at my Tumblr.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

It's not a romance, it's a love story

At the moment I'm working on a short story called Harvest Moon, which should be ready for publication next week (I really wanted to write something for Halloween, and whilst this isn't technically a Halloween story, it's very "of the season." Or at least, I think so). When I started it, I was sure it was going to be a romance. But it's not. It's a love story.

The difference, you ask?

Romance has a happily ever after (HEA). This is one of the things that makes it a romance. A love story does not necessarily have a HEA. Think Cinderella v Titanic. In Cinderella, the girl marries her prince, overcomes her wicked stepsisters and gets to live in a castle with a handsome, loving husband forever. In Titanic, Rose survives but loses Jack. She goes on to have a wonderful, fulfilling life, but there's no HEA for her and Jack because she was too selfish to share her stupid wardrobe door with him.

In Harvest Moon, I was sure that Rowen and Blake would end up with a HEA, despite rather insurmountable odds. But the further into the story I get, the more I realise it's just impossible. If I want to stick to the rules of their little world and keep the story believable, they can't have a HEA. They can have love and they can have happiness, but they can't have a romantic ending.

This makes me sad in a way, but in another, it's quite exciting. It changes things for the characters. It changes the decisions they make and the way they feel about them. It challenges them to move forward and make new plans. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll say no more, but now I've resigned myself to giving up on the HEA, I'm looking forward to writing a bittersweet yet hopeful story of love. Just don't expect a fairy tale ending.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Not another book review - Wisdom by Amanda Hocking

When I first started thinking seriously about self-publishing, Amanda Hocking was one of the first authors whose work I tried to test the waters. I wanted to see what sort of quality was being produced and as Amanda was the name bandied around the most, she seemed the obvious choice.

I really enjoyed the first My Blood Approves book. It wasn't perfect by a long shot, but it was fun and a little quirky, and a very easy read. I'd expected a Twilight-esque bore-fest so I was pleasantly surprised by Alice's engaging voice, and I went on to snap up the next three available books in the series, as well as a couple of other Hocking titles (Switch and Hollowlands).

Wisdom is the forth in the My Blood Approves series and my favourite so far. Alice has been a rather passive heroine for most of the series, content to drift along and let life take her where it will. In Wisdom she finally realises she can't face eternity that way and starts being proactive. Tragedy forces her into being a little more proactive than she might like, but she embraces the challenge fiercely, regardless of the cost. I liked that. I liked that she was willing to take risks, physical and emotional, as part of her journey in this book. I feel like she's shied away from that previously.

Milo has been a favourite of mine since the first book (I love that Hocking includes gay characters without making a big deal out of them being gay), so it was nice to see more of him and Bobby in this volume too. The continuation of Mae's storyline from Flutter was heartwrenching but inevitable, and I like how that was handled.

My only real complaint about Wisdom is the slightly repetitive nature of the love triangle. Every book we see Alice examine her feelings for Jack and Peter, decide she loves Jack, and then somehow end up offending one or both of the boys anyway. Although it seems like the triangle is finally resolved this time, there's still one more book to go, so I imagine we'll see this again. It bothers me most because I feel like either boy would be a good boyfriend for Alice - I love Jack and Peter (although Peter a little more) and so it's hard to see a happy ending. Most love triangles usually have a clear choice regardless of what the heroine might say, so whilst it's fun to read one where I feel like it could go either way, it's tiresome to see the same issues hashed out, resolved, and reopened in each book.

Phew, end rant. Despite my complaint, I ate up this book, as I have Hocking's others, and will definitely look forward to the final volume! This is literary candy - looks pretty, tastes good, and satisfies a need.

Monday, 10 October 2011


"A man's reach should exceed his grasp" - Robert Browning

It feels like forever since I started writing Ravenor. It's a story I really want to tell, a story I enjoy when I actually get some work done on it. But some days I open the word document and just stare at the blinking cursor and feel like the ending is impossibly far away, and that even if I do finish and publish it, it won't be worth it. Nobody will read it. Nobody will like it if they do read it. I don't have the skill for this kind of story. I don't have the talent to even think of trying.

But if you want to get anywhere in life, you have to look your doubts in the eye and say "no." You have to refuse them. I'm refusing mine this week and I'm going to take a shot at finishing Ravenor. I don't think the end is that far away (my word count meter lies, so must be ignored), and I would love to have it ready for publication by Halloween. I did consider subbing it to a publisher, but I think I'd prefer to go indie with this one. It feels right.

So I'm pushing the doubts aside for now. Even if just one person buys Ravenor and says they liked it, it will have been a success. And that is worth working for.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Thinking about subbing here...

At Entangled Publishing. They say they're acquiring novellas in YA, and I haven't seen many other epubs/small presses doing that. I had planned to indie publish all my work, but I might submit Ravenor here when it's finished and see what comes of it. I want to keep my options open writing-wise, and a mix of traditional and indie publishing might offer the widest reach to readers.

Hmm. Better finish Ravenor, I suppose...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Write off September, start anew in October

That's my plan, anyway. For various reasons, September has not been a great month for writing. But October looks promising! I'd like to get a few things done:

1. Finish and publish Ravenor. Although it's turning out to be much longer than I expected, the end is in sight, so that shouldn't be hard.
2. Finish and publish The Snow Fairy's Curse. I don't think this will be much longer than I predicted, so hopefully that can be done too.
3. Make more progress on the Secret Project. I doubt I'll come close to finishing, but I'd like to perhaps hit the halfway mark.

I'm not sure whether I'll continue with December in the Dark. I loved the idea when I conceived it, but other ideas keep popping up that I like better. Sometimes the desire is to try and work on a hundred different projects at once, but then I know I'm not producing my best work, so I must resist! I know some writers can do this, but I'm a slow and steady kinda gal and I'd rather produce one or two works that I'm proud of than a dozen that I think are subpar.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Tyranny of the Word Count

When I started writing Ravenor, I was almost positive it was going to be a short story, probably less than 10k long. Now, as you can see from the word count metre, it's edging towards my predicted grand total and I am dismayed to find I'm nowhere near finished. I'm now guessing it's more likely to be 20k. This is...well, it's not bad, but I had hoped to be finished and ready to publish by now. I'm not the world's fastest writer and when I see the finishing line moving further and further back, I get discouraged.

That's not to say I won't finish Ravenor, only that I wonder now why I bothered setting a target word count. Why not just write until the story is done, rather than worry about length? I suppose length matters if you're planning to publish traditionally or via epresses, but if you're self-publishing there are no guidelines on minimum/maximum word counts. I bought an indie book recently that was about 1k and it wasn't any less enjoyable for it, so why did I worry about hitting an arbitrary length or, indeed, exceeding it?

Lesson learned: from now on I won't assign targets like this to my stories. Whether they end up being 10k or 100k, as long as I feel I've told the story, it doesn't matter.