A Year in Review: 2017

After a horrifying start to 2017, I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved this year:

Maria V Snyder’s Fan Edition fo Dawn Study (Chronicles of Ixia #6) was released, and my picture was on the mosaic cover!


In January I published Cupid’s Arrow: Guardian Trials on Episode. It’s only 3 episodes long but I plan on going back to it one day. I had a dream after I published it and that has inspired another part of the story. The cover is done by  The Awkward Cover Art Shoppe.

In February my husband came home from a two month stay in hospital and we moved house the next week.

Then in March I published a special 3 episode only Episode, a short story called Mysterious: Those Left Behind. I originally wanted to write this for Episode and they just so happened to have a contest about the mystery genre when I was plotting it in my head, and it was perfect for a 3 episode short story.

In April I published the first part of a trilogy called Lies for a Living, an interconnected story in an overarching series called Chaos of Stars exclusively to Amazon. It’s about a British rock band and the lovers who rock their world.

In April I published part 1 of Lies for a Living, Backstage Heat.

In May I published part 2 of Lies for a Living, Centre Stage.

In June I published part 3 of Lies for a Living, Leading Lady.

A box set of the trilogy was also released in July.

In July I rebranded my Tina Storm books with new titles and a new cover for Demon’s Blood done by Cover Couture.

Then I organised the rest of the covers for my New Adult fantasy trilogy Winter, done by Magic Owl. I can’t show them to you, but they are totally gorgeous.

Then I took a break and focused on my non-writing life.

In November I started NaNoWriMo, but this year, due to outside commitments, I couldn’t finish it. I did get a fair chunk done and I am excited to write the rest of it, I’m just stretched too thin at the moment. This means that I can’t commit to when Winter is going to be published, but I’m hoping, if my life settles down sometime soon, in the latter half of 2018.

My plan for 2018 is:

  • complete the second trilogy in the Chaos of Stars series.
  • to write more of the sequel to Demon’s Blood
  • finish the third book in the New Adult fantasy romance trilogy Winter and prepare for publication.
  • finish No Angel on Episode
  • add some more episodes to Guardian Trials
  • publish Lies for a Living on other platforms.


How was your 2017? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Kick Off

It’s been pretty quiet around here because I haven’t really been doing anything writing-wise for a couple of months now.

In my defense I did publish a brand new contemporary romance and 2 new Episodes this year, AND rebranded the Tina Storm: Demon Hunter series.

But like (almost) always, I am attempting National Novel Writing Months, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, this month, kicking off today.

I’ve been tossing around whether I really want to do it this year. With 5 wins from 6 attempts (I didn’t attempt it in 2015 and my computer literally blew up halfway through 2012’s attempt and I hadn’t backed up my novel and was so heartbroken I gave up) I’m pretty keen to finish the new adult fantasy trilogy I started in 2014 but this year has been so hard and stressful on me and I started a new job last week, and I just thought I wouldn’t have the fortitude to tackle something I didn’t absolutely plan on ‘winning’.

But my love of writing, and my love of these characters and wanting to wrap up this story has won me over. Which is interesting, asI’m going in to the third book in the trilogy having not yet finished the second because as you might know, fair reader, my husband went into hospital in the middle of December last year for a back injury and didn’t come out for 2 months, so I didn’t really have the emotional strength to finish that novel when I was working on my Episodes.

(Speaking of which, No Angel has been dormant for a long time but I absolutely do plan on finishing it. I just don’t have the strength to do that and novelling at the same time.)

Well, today was kind of just a brain barf for me. I did plan on writing something NaNo-related. Tasmania has its own region this year, which is something, although I haven’t been to a write-in yet and I’m not sure I will go to any this year. I’m pretty busy outside of writing. But I will leave you with my favourite writing trick for NaNo and one I used just today as I powered past the 1667 minimum and stopped at 2000K instead (you can see my progress in the sidebar ->):

The best place to stop writing is in the middle of an exciting scene where you know what’s going to happen next. That way, when you return the next day, you know exactly what to write and won’t waste time staring at the screen muttering, “NOW what happens?”

My characters were just attacked by what appears to be a grizzly bear, which seemed like a good place to stop for the day.

Post-NaNoWrimo Thoughts And Stats

How did I go?

Most days I stayed on track, but I often slipped behind by a day or so, so this year I was often playing catch-up. With NaNoWriMo ending on a Wednesday and with my health unpredictable at night time (I have a severe allergy to pepper, and sometimes you can’t be certain it’s not included in processed food even if you do read the ingredients) I ended up writing 3K on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the Wednesday so I knew I would finish a couple of days early.


Did I Achieve My Goal?

Since my goal was to complete NaNo and knowing it wouldn’t be the whole book, yeah, I did achieve my goal.

Also, my goal was to write a love triangle where the girl is in love with one guy but having it off with another and boy, that was hard to navigate. It’s hard to define love against desire and mutual benefits. It’s hard tow rite why she’s a better match for one or the other, or perhaps she’s a better sexual match for one and romantic match for the other. Ever since on of my novels got rejected because the editor didn’t understand why my couple were in love despite me building a companionship and mutual interests and common backgrounds with them, I’ve been neurotic about “why does this character love this character? How do you show it? WHAT IS LOVE EVEN?” I don’t even know. How do I know I love my husband? I just do. How can you convince someone reading a book of the same thing?

What did I learn?

I learned that after a full day at work, a one and a half hour round trip driving to pick my husband up from work, and then sitting in a chair to write nearly 2000 words for a couple of hours is EXHAUSTING. Not just physically exhausting but mentally exhausting as well. I don’t know how authors with day jobs do it, to be honest. Sometimes I was nodding off at my computer at 10pm.

I learned that even writing 3-5K words per day is a huge mental challenge and those who write 10K a day consistently and claim it’s easy are either insane or don’t care about the quality of their work (or don’t have day jobs).

I learned that I work best when I break it up into 1000 word chunks and tackle those one at a time.

I learned that when I’m struggling, I update my word count every 200 words, but when it’s flowing I can write nearly 800 or so before I remember to update my word count.

I learned I really like updating my word count.

I learned I quite like being a planster – that’s the hip new word for people who both plot and ‘pants’ their novel (writing by the seat of their pants/unplanned). I had a vague summary and split it into the the required number of words I estimated I’d need for each act in a 3 act story, but I left a lot of it blind so a) I didn’t know what would happen and feel discouraged to write it and b) I had room to wriggle and play with the word count.

I actually don’t feel burned out this time. I feel quite eager to continue on and finish the book.

How’s the book going?

Like the last time I did NaNo, in 2014, the book’s not finished. I think I might need around 10 or even another 20K to wrap up it up. When I finished 2014’s book, I wrote an extra 13K. I’m not sure how much longer this book will need, as I only have a vague outline in my head and the final page already written.

I did have one particular scene I was really looking forward to writing, but due to my planster-ing, the book changed direction and I never got to write it.

Normally I hit a mental wall at about 10-15K and find it really hard to push through, but because I planned a lot of the early part of the novel I just rocketed past my usual wall laughing all the way. Also, there were no walls this time. Maybe because it’s a sequel?

What’s in store for the future?

I will always attempt NaNoWriMo unless there’s some kind of catastrophe in my life, so at the moment I’m planning on doing it next year. However, I want to write the third book in this trilogy before then, so I don’t know what next year’s novel will be.

Did you do NaNoWriMo this year? How did your writing go?



Unconventional Tools for Writing: DollDivine Dressmaker


I’ve used DollDivine before to recreate the Disney Princesses in my blog series studying the Disney Princesses. It was fun to recreate the iconic outfits as best I could with the limited designs offered.

In my writing, I often skip over what a person is wearing. I love clothing descriptions in the literature I read, but I tend to just see faces when I’m writing, and I forget to describe what a character is wearing.

DollDivine is one of my favourite procrastination destinations because it can be useful as well. See, all these pretty clothes I design, well, maybe my characters can wear them! And then when I’m struggling to describe what my characters are wearing, I have a visual reference right in front of me!

tally-engagement-dress tallys-travelling-dress-day-one tallys-travelling-dress-day-two

Yes, Tally’s face is different in all the dolls and no, I don’t know why I gave her a wolf in the second one. Maybe it’s Ash?

I find the combined fun of working on the outfits and then being able to describe them really help me in my writing!

Are there any unconventional tools you use to help with your writing?


NaNoWriMo: Research

I’ve mentioned before that it’s my curse to do a whole heap of research so I know exactly what I’m talking about for something that may just be an incidental prop.

It’s based on the whole ‘write what you know’ standard.

If I want to write about, for example, a pig farm, even if it’s only in one scene, I have to do some research to find out how to breed pigs, when piglets are born, how many in a litter, and then due to a character’s throwaway line I had to research why humans don’t typically consume pig’s milk.

I found out some fascinating stuff:

  • Pig’s milk is higher in fat and more watery than cow’s milk, but much harder to milk.
  • Cows get oxcytocin for about 4 minutes once they start being milked, which helps prolong the milking: pigs only get 15 seconds, enough to get the piglet suckling.
  • Cows can also get pregnant while lactating, while pigs cannot.

I don’t mention those above facts in the story, but it sure answered my question of why don’t human consume pig’s milk, and helped my understanding of the subject. Now I can confidently write about why humans don’t consume pig milk!