August

Seven months has rushed by and I’m prompted to write this because OneTree House have just released I Had A Brother. It looks fantastic and is in hardback thanks to a Creative N.Z. grant. The illustrations by Malene Laugesen are stunning and  I want to thank her, Christine and Jenny for turning the dream of this story into reality.  It’s been a long journey since I Had A Brother was contracted by Walker Books in 2012, then in November 2014 the contract was cancelled when they dumped a heap of New Zealand authors. After that I tried five New Zealand publishers and got the same response, ‘lovely story, just not commercial’. When Jenny and Christine set up as OneTree House they stated in their blurb that they were intending to publish books and projects. I zoomed in on the word ‘project’ as this suggested a possibility. After discussing the story with Sarah Foster (the  ex-publishing manager at Walker Books who accepted the manuscript) they offered me a contract.  I feel very lucky.

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January

Well I skipped November and December – had good intentions but the time just flew.  Several good things happened – Scholastic did another print run of 1915 Wounds of War and the Blind Foundation notified us that they are adding a braille and audio version of it to their N.Z. Youth Library. OneTree House let me know they have finalised the date for the release of I Had A Brother and I’ve seen some of the finished illustrations – fabulous.

I had a wonderful Christmas with our family and got a fair amount of gardening done before the hot weather started. Yesterday I finally finished the new edition of my Hukerenui  book and sent it to the printers.  I nearly made a huge blunder – I was reading the hard copy as the last stage before giving the go ahead for the print run and noticed there were coloured photo’s in the book, and some sepia. As I’d agreed to print ready PDF I had to make the changes. I’d assumed that because they were printing in black and white the photo’s would change. I’ll know better next time.

I’ve spent most of today updating my website and plan to do my author page on Amazon next. Then I’m back into my writing.

October News

I’ve decided to write a blog each month – now I have to keep it up. Will be quite a feat considering I’ve only written six blogs over the last five years. I don’t usually publish work without running it past Lesley (my editor) so you can expect this to score 80% grammar wise.  I’m looking at my blogs as a letters to friends.

Last month I attended half of the National Writers Forum in Auckland – had planned to be there for the full event but Ethan (grandson) rang and asked if I’d cook pizza for ten for the Friday night; a belated 16th birthday celebration. I decided to toss the weekend but when I rang Jenny (CEO NZ Society of Authors) she talked me into going for the Saturday afternoon and Sunday. It was fantastic. The highlights for me were John Marsden’s keynote and his workshop on ‘Plots that Work’. Networking and catching up with friends is always great value and I came home bubbling with energy and determined to get back into my novel – have been side tracked with work for our local museum, and my garden.

This month I’ve put Shadow of the Boyd up  as an ebook with Smashwords and set up PayPal for sales. I’m going to put it up in Amazon too as a friend says I can use the same epub file. Then I’ll add River Crossing to Smashwords and a collection of my published short stories as I get time. Once I’ve got my back-list up I’ll take a look at the dreaded marketing side of epub.  Now that I’m retired I’m trying to organise myself into spending time on this, but writing wins hands down.

Anna (neighbour and good friend) and I are going down to Rotorua to spend Labour Weekend with Nyrene (daughter) who is working with me on Judging is Lethal  and we are planning on work-shopping  the clues and false leads – the trickiest part of the plot for me. Then onto Hastings for three days to catch up with Sue (sort-of sister) before driving back home. Will be a neat holiday. And then it’s back to work – writing.