Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Thoughts on Writing

Yesterday, I caught up with a dear friend of mine. She is the kind of friend that always makes me see things clearer after we're together, makes me remember what's important. And she's a great support when it comes to what I do.

Everyone should have a friend like her.

As most of you know, I didn't start out a writer. Part of me still feels like the "writer hat" I wear most days doesn't quite fit like it should. But when I try to take it off, to shove it in a cupboard and forget I ever discovered it under my mountain of pencil skirts and grey suits, it somehow ends up being the first thing I reach for the next morning.

See, writing is part of who I am now. Not a day passes where I'm not thinking about my characters, or a pesky plot point, or whether I could make a certain scene stronger, or whether I'm any good at this at all. It is a massive roller coaster - the highs are dizzying and the lows can be crushing (and I'm not talking about reviews; I'm talking about that one sentence you spend hours polishing only to walk away in disgust one day, then nail it with the barest thought the next). But in the end, I can't live without it.

I like that what I do can make someone else's day brighter. I love opening up my inbox and getting messages from readers saying that because of my books their day/week/year is better. I'm humbled to hear that my books have made kids that don't like to read ignore facebook and TV and get lost in a world with my characters. I love that people care enough about my stories and characters that they actually want more.

I literally pinch myself each time I meet a new fan.

But the one thing I find when I get talking to people about what I do is that the reality of what I do day in, day out is very different to what they imagine. I don't sit down each morning in some awesome cafe opposite a beach and churn out a cool 1000 words before lunch. Most mornings I hit the box (what CrossFitters call a gym) at 5am with Ben (that's our alarm screeching at 4.25am), finish up around 6.30am, get cleaned up, have breakfast then sit down to write in my office around 8am. I usually start by reviewing my work from the day before, and maybe by 10am I'm onto writing fresh stuff. I write until noon-ish (sometimes later) then break for lunch. After lunch, I usually hit the keyboard for another few hours until it's time for Bold and the Beautiful (a guilty pleasure I blame on my mother) and then comes the dinner routine. On weekends I do the same (though only for two to three hours) but most months of the year this is a seven day a week gig. I've been told many times (mostly by former colleagues) that it's a lot of work for $0.99, and I tell them that I love it. They look at me like I'm crazy and I look at them like they're missing the point - because they are.

It is hard work but it is rewarding, and that makes me happy. It is an itch I have to scratch, it soothes my soul and I'll never do anything else.

I wish the same for you.

Happy reading, writing and dreaming.
xo


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Legacy 2.0

It's summer here in Oz right now, and it is seriously the hottest one I can remember, so forgive me if this post is a little blunt!
 
It's been a challenging week - I ripped my palms open doing pull ups ('Fran Hands' for my CrossFit readers) and the rest of the time I've been chained to my desk trying not to melt while recovering files from my external hard drive after my computer actually did melt.

Anyhow, now that I've picked up my bottom lip, I'm ready to finally talk about the silver lining in all of this.  I have files to recover, and for that I'm grateful. If I hadn't backed up, I would've lost everything - photos, all my Tri-Realms and Timing Fate files, and I'd probably be writing this post from a psych ward.  

But I'm not - though that's not to say this whole ordeal has had no impact, because it has.  For the past few days I've been madly trying to re-polish the last 15% of Legacy in time for my birthday on the 27th (which is when I'd planned to hit publish), but as I sat hunched over my laptop this morning I had to finally admit to myself that I'm not a miracle worker and I simply won't be able to redo that last 15% in time. I'm sorry. You deserve the best product possible - and I'm not prepared to part with anything less.  I spent the better part of the last year re-writing all three installments. I can't even begin to describe my frustration at having to write parts of Legacy a third time. 

But like I said, there's a silver lining. Most of Legacy is fine - and here's a little sneak peek of one of my favourite scenes that survived.  Enjoy. xo

When I finally pull myself together, I head out to the kitchen and down several glasses of water.  With Sebastian gone the house is eerily silent, and as I lean against the sink I realize I don’t sense anyone else here.  Peering outside I see that lights are on above the garage.
I frown. 
For some reason Erasmus and Hannah are shielded.  And suddenly all I can think about is what Sebastian said before.  
“A penny for your thoughts?” a droll voice offers.
Gasping, I whirl around, pitching my now-empty tumbler with startling accuracy.  Clipping the edge of the refrigerator it explodes, showering Alaik with razor-sharp slivers. 
We stare at each other, stunned.
“Nice arm,” he observes wryly.
“Sorry.”
Shrugging, he holds out his arms for me to inspect them.  “No harm done.” 
Curious, I take a look.  “Lucky,” I mutter, seeing there’s no mark; then wander off to get the dustpan and brush. 
When I return, Alaik plucks them from my hands.  “Allow me,” he says coolly, crouching down to sweep up the shattered glass.  Perplexed, I lean against the doorway and watch him. 
“You were shielded,” I say, unable to keep the accusation from my tone as he saunters past me to dump out the mess.
“I was,” he agrees.  He takes his time to put the brush away.
“Why?”
He turns.  Slowly.  “Does there have to be a reason?”
“With you?  Usually.”
He smirks.  “I suppose I deserve that.” 
The tension between us is palpable as he joins me in the doorway.  He’s so close that I can see the curve of his pale lashes and the intricate pattern of his irises.  
Suddenly, he grips the doorframe by my head.  “Maybe I just like to surprise you.”  


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Guess who's hitting the Park City slopes in March?

Not me.

Whatever.  Of course it's me!!! :) I am so excited, and Timing Fate fans will soon understand why.  For those of you who are Tri-Realms fans, you've probably already figured it out - I'm hitting the US as much for research as for pleasure.

Montville, the setting for much of the Tri-Realms Saga is literally 45 minutes away from my home here in Oz, and I spent a lot of time both there and on the Mornington Peninsula while writing the Tri-Realms Saga. It kept me inspired to live and breathe as my characters might.

So now it's Timing Fate's turn.  Parker, Co (where Paige is originally from in Timing Fate) is where I lived for several years in the US.  And while this won't be my first ski trip to Utah, there's a lot more research involved in this trip than in any other.  I'll try to make some room for fun and CrossFit too.

Be prepared for randomness, photos and fan girl moments (it's okay if I swoon over Nate and Xae too, right?). :)

Bring on March!

Okay, back to the WIP.

Happy reading, writing and dreaming! xo

Oh, and Miss Cynthia if you're reading this, Taylor Swift's Mean and Lorde's Royals are the major players on the writing playlist this week. ;)

xo

Sunday, 29 December 2013

2013

It's been so long since I posted, it seriously just took me thirty seconds to find the BIG ORANGE BUTTON that lets me create a new post.

So... 2013 is done and dusted (well, pretty much anyway) and while Ben's rushing around trying to get sorted for the Casino Royale party we're going to, I personally can't wait to come home, empty out the gratitude jar and read all the things we were grateful for this year. One of them, I know, is you guys. I appreciate your support, particularly since this year was not my best. I fell well behind on my anticipated release for Haelven thanks to some pesky health issues early on, and then, of course, my decision to rewrite the Tri-Realms Saga. I feel terrible, and I'm sorry, but I hope to make that up to you (and Paige) in 2014.

So I guess now you know why I don't set official release dates until a couple of weeks before. I've learned that life happens, and when it does it doesn't give you a whole lot of notice. BUT I've also learned that one of the best things about the New Year is that feeling of hope, of renewal. And before you go warning me about the dangers of New Year's resolutions, let me take a look back at the ones I made last year.

Last year I said I hoped to complete 3-4 books in 2013. I wound up writing Scion, re-writing the Tri-Realms Saga and writing a good chunk of Haelven and Sacrifice.  Not exactly what I had in mind, but it still took a hell of a lot of effort, and I need to give myself a bit of a break (believe me, I'm my own worst critic). Meanwhile, on a personal level I said I wanted to do the Gratitude Jar all year. I give myself a big tick for that one.

But, interestingly, a resolution I never made is probably the one that changed my life the most: CrossFit. I feel like a different person (probably because I am) and while I'm nowhere near where I want to end up, I'm really looking forward to continuing to work on my writing / CrossFit / life balance in 2014, so I've set a couple of goals for each. Now while a huge part of me is screaming to keep them to myself (after all, once they're out there...) I'm going to go out on a limb and put them out there anyway.

2014 Goals

Writing: Release Haelven (early 2014) and Sacrifice (late 2014); Blog more than once a month!
CrossFit: Jackie RXd under 10 mins (Jackie is a workout consisting of 1000 meter row, 50 x 45lb thrusters and 30 x pull ups)
Life: Say yes more often. Yes to events (have I mentioned I'd rather watch paint dry than go to large social gatherings?); Yes to friends; Yes to putting on a killer dress and heels when I'd rather read...okay, maybe not yes all the time when I'd rather be reading. ;)

So that's it. It's out there. Bring on January.

Happy reading, writing and dreaming - and all the very best to you and yours for 2014.
Kristie xo

Friday, 27 September 2013

New Releases, New Editions and Other "News."

Yesterday on FB I announced that Scion (a Tri-Realms Saga prequel) will release on Friday October 11. Finally!!! I know. It's been a long time coming for a number of reasons, the main one being that I've been working on new editions of my existing Tri-Realms Saga volumes at the same time.

WHAT??? Why?
Well, as much as I love them, I've said on many occasions that I wrote Anomaly for myself; it was my first ever attempt at writing, and really, that's enough said. :) Since then I'd like to think I've grown in my writing, and while nothing substantive has changed plot wise, there were some things I realised I could improve on when I re-read Anomaly in preparation for Scion last year.
So, after a lot of soul searching and trying only to fail and start over, I did it. And about ten days ago I unpublished the first edition of Anomaly so there wouldn't be a bunch of readers caught in the crossover (Yep, this absolutely has impacted my sales ranks and chances of future success, but it is the right thing to do).

The second edition of Anomaly will release in conjunction with Scion on October 11.

What's changed?
Well, the tense of the novels for a start. All are now written in first person present tense, which I've discovered I enjoy most. There's a lot more clarity in the plot as it's not quite as wordy (though there are still some 'big' words *gasp*) and I've changed out 'telling' for 'showing.'
What hasn't changed? The plot and very essence of the saga. What happened, happened. That cannot and will not change.

What now?
Well, good question. I don't know how the new editions will be received. Will some people still not like them? Sure. I'll never please everyone, but that's not why I did this. I did it because I saw what I could do better, and I felt the story and characters deserved that. Plain and simple. Will I still love my original Anomaly? Of course. It was my first novel, and that time will always be extremely special to me.

So that is what I've been so busy with this year: health scares and CrossFit overhauls, three novel rewrites, a prequel novelette, and a sequel to Oraecle that I'm hoping to get out by year end. It's been a massive 2013. If you've missed me, sorry; I've been AWOL from basically everywhere, but at least now I can tell you why. :)

Happy reading, writing and dreaming...
xo