Confessions of an unashamed Harry Potter tragic

Following Bloomsbury’s announcement the other day that the whole HP series will now be released in house colour editions…

…I spent a chunk of time this morning* working out which books I’ll get in which house colours.

1. Hufflepuff. That’s me. (Already got it, so I figure I’m committed.)
2. Slytherin. COS is all about Slytherin.
3. Gryffindor. Two generations of Gryffindors in this one.
4. Hufflepuff. Coz Cedric Diggory.
5. Gryffindor again. OOTP is all about Gryffindors.
6. Ravenclaw. Given all that biz about the tiara.
7. Slytherin. This is a pretty Slytheriny chapter in the HP story.
What do you reckon, fellow Harry Potter tragics? How are you going to play it?
*I was out, having brunch with my other half, so, NO, I wasn’t procrastinating.
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Bring on 2018!

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Well it’s farewell to the old year as we usher in the new. And if you’re reading this, I wish you happiness and love and peace and all things sweet and good for 2018.

There were many, many things that were pretty shit about 2017. But here are a few things that made me happy this year.

  1. I signed the contract with Hodder & Stoughton to publish my very first novel, The Beast’s Heart. I’ve definitely raved on enough about this, so suffice to say everything about this particular journey has been awesome.
  2. I won an Aurealis Award for my story Pretty Jennie Greenteeth. Frankly, the nomination alone would have made it to second place on this list. I did not expect to win, so again: off the scale awesome.
  3. I got to meet one of my heroes of the publishing world, Ellen Datlow. *swoon*
  4. Finally, FINALLY, Australia legislated to legalise same-sex marriage. I remain strongly critical of what it took to get there, but there is no question the end result in itself remains a good, sweet thing.
  5. I was part of the creative production team on TWO writing festivals/conventions, and attended a further three.
  6. I got to go to Dark MOFO in Hobart. A. May. Zing. I never knew there were so many delicious varieties of hot alcohol. And the art. Holy fuck. It blew my tiny mind.

Those are the high points. There are a million other things that made me happy over the last 12 months, including that my family are happy and healthy and here with me and this remains a state of awesome that underlies every other awesome thing in my life. I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing people in my personal and professional life. And I’ve read some fantastic books (many of which were written by friends) and eaten some spectacular food this year (I don’t want to understate the pleasure eating delicious things brings me, or the gratitude I feel that I’m in a position to do so.)

I’ve got a few plans for 2018… But for now, I hope you have a fab time seeing off the old year, and that 2018 brings you all kinds of wonderful.

xoxo

 

 

Joy of the season to you

I’m officially on my Christmas holidays as of now. Not being religious, for me this holiday is all about spending time with family, taking stock of the old year and looking forward to the new and taking a break from my day job. It is, however, a time of year when I traditionally do a heap of writing, so wish me well on that, won’t you?

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Whether you’re somewhere cold or somewhere warm (like me), and however you celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, I wish you a safe, happy and relaxing break, and I hope you get to spend it with people you love.

See you in the new year!

xoxo

Vasilisa the bewitching

I came home from work today to find a very exciting present waiting for me.

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See how it says “artwork”? So excitement. So I opened it…

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And this is what I saw. SQUEEEEE! I KNEW IT!!!

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Then I turned it over.

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Isn’t it completely glorious? I cannot wait to have this framed & up on my wall. (And I got bonus postcards! AND my pre-ordered copy of Vasilisa the Wise – which got launched last Thursday! – will be arriving just in time to make it onto my Christmas reading pile. What is Vasilisa the Wise? Oh my sweet. If you love fairy tales, Kate Forsyth’s enchanting storytelling, or the bewitching, other-worldly illustrations of the extraordinarily talented Lorena Carrington, head over to Vasilisa’s website and check her out.)

Reviews and roses

The Read3r’z Re-Vu team have put their lovely review up over on their blog, along with a short interview with me that captures some of the questions they asked me in their week-long readalong. And what a great bunch they were to hang out with.

NJ then surpassed herself with this glorious tiny work of art:

Thank you guys, it was such a pleasure!

Busyness and roses

I’ve had so much going on lately, I feel like I’ve barely had time to stop and breathe (or write a blog post).

First there was the Read3r’z Re-Vu  read through of the proof of The Beast’s Heart, which was WONDERFUL. I could not have wished for a lovelier, more thoughtful, more enthusiastic bunch of first readers. They had so many good questions and so many astute observations and their responses left me in tears of joy on more than one occasion. You can see their individual reviews up on Goodreads (more tears of joy), and I’ll post a link to the review they post on the Read3r’z Re-Vu website when it goes up. But I have to say, this was a favourite moment:

Other busy things:

  • I have finished reading all the subs for A Hand of Knaves!
  • We have launched the Indiegogo crowdfunder for A Hand of Knaves! (Check it out – there is some super cool swag on offer for supporters.)
  • I went to Genrecon in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago. That was just fantastic. Highly recommended.
  • I wrote an article for Hodderscape giving y’all an opportunity to snoop around my writing space.

And…

I have been conspiring with my good mate Shauna O’Meara (who is responsible for the amazing playing card art for A Hand of Knaves) on a new Secret Project involving roses. It has been amusing to find she shares my “get it right” OCD in respect of historical details, to the point where she went to great lengths yesterday to find samples of rose breeds that would have been around in the 17th Century (there is a hint as to the nature of the Secret Project, right there.) Here’s a snippet of our conversation while she communed rapturously with nature…

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Because, you know. Historical accuracy.

The proofs are out there…

2017-11-18 14.40.24This has been an exciting few days! Hachette Australia HQ held their book bloggers night last Thursday, and this lil old thing got given out, leading to a small social media flurry on my part as people tweeted & instagrammed pics of their copies. I am telling you as a total rookie debut author, I don’t think this will ever get old.

But here’s the exciting part: a group of book bloggers and reviewers from Sydney blog Read3r’z Re-Vu will be doing a read along of their proof copies of The Beast’s Heart from Sunday evening through Monday, and they’ve asked me to join them! Basically, I get to peek over their shoulders and watch their reactions (via whatsapp) as they read it!

Am I looking forward to it? Am I what!

In return, I’ll be giving them some exclusive insights into writing the story plus a bonus playlist of songs I listened to while writing it.

On top of that, the submission window for A Hand of Knaves closed on Thursday at midnight. So now I have a fat folder sitting in my inbox of short story submissions ready  to read. Really looking forward to seeing what’s waiting for me there.

Plus there’s a few other bits & pieces to be getting on with, like a wrap-up of last weekend’s Genrecon and a new article for Hodderscape, not to mention I’ll be starting a new job on Monday. So it’s not like I’m going to be at a loose end over the next few days…

Fairy tale art

vasilisa-the-wiseI have been a bit quiet over here of late (busy busy), so today I’m posting a treat by proxy. Hodderscape has just published an article of mine that makes my heart sing for reasons that have nothing to do with my own words, and everything to do with the exquisite fairy tale artwork I got to share – including, by way of example, Lorena Carrington’s exquisite cover for this lovely book of fairy tales by Kate Forsyth (which I have pre-ordered for its release next month). The article also features artworks from Kathleen Jennings and sculptures from Spike Deane

Go and have a look. 🙂 It’s really gorgeous.

The iceberg

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If you are a writer, you have probably at some stage of heard of something referred to as ‘the iceberg principle’. It’s pretty simple really. The premise is based on the idea that 90% of the iceberg lies invisible, under the water, with only 10% visible above the surface. This is a metaphor for what you know about your story, world and characters, vs what actually makes it onto the page for your reader to see.

Just by way of example, here’s a sentence from one of my WIPs:

If she had been at home, she most likely would have been abed with a hot brick and one of her housekeeper’s restorative tisanes.

That might have taken you all of two seconds to read. And it probably took me a couple of minutes to craft the actual words that went into it. But that sentence also represents at least 45 minutes worth of internet research on:

  • 18th Century remedies for period pain
  • Lydia E Pinkham
  • Liquorice root, including where it grows and what its medicinal properties are
  • the medicinal properties of Dandelion root

Which is basically just my way of reassuring myself that it’s OK to have only produced 200 words after getting up at 5.30 am and writing for 1.5 hours before the family gets up and we all have to get ready for work/school/etc. And also goes some way to illustrating why it takes so damn long to write a bloody novel.

And now I have had that stupid Lily the Pink song stuck in my head all day. Yeah. You’re welcome.

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