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It amazes me after all the years I’ve been writing that I can still get something from a writers conference. Well I shouldn’t be amazed because the romance writers have been knocking my sox off since I went to my first conference in 2012. This one was my third.

Like a very good girl I went to all the sessions (I had to skip the AGM to check in to my hotel on Saturday-sorry) and I thoroughly enjoyed every one. Either I learned something new or I was reminded of what I should be doing but sometimes get lazy about.

As I’m in my hotel ready to do so editing before we head out to the UK, I can’t wax lyrical on the subject matter. Cherry Adair was hilarious and informative and generous. Marie Force was a force to be reckoned with but certainly opened my eyes to how much work can be involved in self-publishing if you want to do it well. Fiona Lowe’s session on characters amazed me, particularly the amount of structured analysis she does. Wow Kate Belle did a great session on sex writing-I certainly learned a lot about writing and a bit about sex! Tim from Smashwords was also fantabulous! And James Scott Bell on revision made me repentant. I can be slack sometimes.

So some photos of the highlights.

Cocktail party was so much fun and the costumes were varied and hot! Go Ros Baxter dressed as Cher. If you’ve got it flaunt it. Here are Tania’s boots. (apparently from Amazon and around $60 and in different colours)boots

Here is another shot of the boots but with all of Tania. Did I mention how much delectable food there was at the Destiny Cocktail party? OMG! Diet went out the window. Actually the food was very good all round.

Tania full

Then there is me and Nicole Murphy (actually in the bar beforehand)

Me and Nicole Murphy, RWAus14

Me and Nicole Murphy, RWAus14

me and alex

Me and my agent, Alex Adsett (Above oops)

Keri Arthur and me! Leather and Lace, C\cocktail party, RWAus14

Keri Arthur and me! Leather and Lace, C\cocktail party, RWAus14

And you may have heard to story of Keri Arthur and I shopping in New Orleans. It may have been a frenzy, depends on your definition of shopping, but here is our ultimate purchases.

Here is my swag.

Swag from RWAus14

Swag from RWAus14

Then we got serious. Here is a shot of Fiona Lowe giving her workshop.

Fiona Lowe

Fiona Lowe

Then there was the awards…Here is a shot of Anna Valdinger, Joel Naom, Hayley Nash and Alex Adsett, editors and agents.

Anna, Joel, Haylee and Alex

Anna, Joel, Haylee and Alex

That really was an excellent ceremony and part afterward.

The Harlequin Escape afterparty really took off. Fab music and a photo booth. Here is a couple of shots of me and Alex being goofy. And we were tame compared to others.

Me and Alex photobooth

Me and Alex photobooth

And here is another (note they are photos of small photos)

Me and Alex photobooth shot

Me and Alex photobooth shot

And then comes moving towards the end of the conference. Here is a shot of Alyssa J Montgomery (also published as Alyssa James) at the last session on dialogue with Cherry Adair.

Alyssa J Montgomery

Alyssa J Montgomery

And near to last the sad and somewhat exhausted Nicole Murphy at the closing ceremony.

Nicole Murphy, closing ceremony RWAus14

Nicole Murphy, closing ceremony RWAus14

But to leave you with some cheer. Me in my underbust corset (which might be upside down-not the first time) feeling lovely and constricted.

Donna Maree Hanson, underbust corset, RWAus13

Donna Maree Hanson, underbust corset, RWAus13

A quick post because I’ve got to head out.

I packed the things I wanted to take. Then as my bag was way over my weight limit I unpacked the things I wanted to take. Sad face! Looks like my lace corset won’t be getting an outing at the Hugo Award Ceremony after all.

This is just my stuff mind you. Matthew has taken the ten kilos of books and chocolate that we’re taking over as I couldn’t afford the weight.

Stay tuned for more ‘merry ol’ England’ photos and maybe some of ‘gay Pari’s. I am hoping to get into a sewer in England, possibly Brighton as London sewers will be closed. This is research for Emerald Fire, the sequel to Ruby Heart (currently with my agent). I also intend to do some street walking in London. Not that kind of street walking! Walking tours and self tours a bit Dickensian I know. More research for the Victorian gothic/steampunk/romance.

I will miss home while I’m away but I’m not going to miss the bloody freezing weather. Listen here England, keep the sun fires burning. I expect warm weather.

So there’s a lot going on. Edits! Getting ready to go away to the UK for 6 weeks. Promoting books. Doing blogs and other stuff. To tell the truth I’m a bit all over the place.

Today I saw the cover concept for Shatterwing today and it was bloody amazing. I love it. I will share when the publishers are happy with it. I must say that Momentum are taking very good care of me. I saw the maps today as well. Awesome!

It’s weird to think that my drawings of Margra are now maps, maps that are going to appear in a book that I’ve been working on for 10 years. Talk about a long time coming. I’m still wanting to pinch myself.

I was interviewed as part of the Aust Spec Fic Snapshot at Tsana’s blog.

I’ve got a couple more coming up. An in-depth one with Ian McHugh and one on Karen Miller’s blog.

I best go and think up another blog post. I’ll be at the RWA conference in Sydney this weekend and at Loncon3 the weekend after. Oh boy. I’m getting around. I’ll also be at British Fantasy Con in York in September before heading back to Canberra and where I’ll be attending Conflux 10. BTW BIG NEWS. I’ll be launching Shatterwing at Conflux and maybe Skywatcher too if it’s ready.

So after my news, I find that things are moving along very quickly. This week I’m hoping to see the concept art for the cover of Dragon wine  1: Shatterwing. You can’t imagine how excited I am about that. Momentum have been great to work with so I have expectations!

Then it’s just over 5 weeks before the book comes out. I mean how quick is that (I mean 10 years in the making).

I’m heading the UK for Loncon 3 and I’ll also be at British Fantasy con in York in September. It will be fab to catch up with friends and acquaintances and also do some research. I need to trawl through the streets of London for the Ruby Heart sequel Emerald Fire and maybe get into a sewer (but as London’s sewers are closed when I get there I may have to settle for a sewer tour in Brighton). While I’m away I’m expecting the edits to Dragon wine 2: Skywatcher and I don’t know how hard that will be doing those while travelling. The edits of Shatterwing required a bit of effort. Not that I’m complaining. I’m very glad to be put through my paces. I just don’t know how that will mesh with travelling and conventions etc. However, as my partner is a writer I’m sure he’ll be supportive and it will all work out. We even bought a mobile office thing to carry my laptop safely.

Travel is also a time to get inspiration and to research streets, buildings and people for future work. It is also a time when I can relax and my mind can invent new scenes.

I’m going to have print copies available and I will be doing a few launch type things when I get back in October. I’ll keep you posted about that.

Meanwhile, Dragon Wine 1: Shatterwing is turning up in places for pre order in ebook. Here are a few of them.

Amazon

Amazon Australia

Google Books

iBooks

 

I have let out hints on Twitter and Facebook about contracts! Yes, plural. I’m so excited and I’ve been dying to tell but a few things happened. One, I hadn’t signed the contracts yet. Two, my laptop fell off my bed and broke. I’m afraid I was traumatised. But it’s now fixed and all is right in my world again.

If you have been following me for a while, you would know about my novel Dragon Wine. It’s the work of the heart, my major work, my first glimpse of writing something good way back when (2005). It was a massive  door stopping beginning to a trilogy, which I started in 2005. It wasn’t quite as good then as it is now. If it wasn’t for the Varuna MS development awards it may not have been written. I was encouraged by being long listed for the first 25 000 words (all I’d written at the time) of this first imaginings of Dragon Wine in 2005. At the time, I had a little vineyard so I did think a lot of it up while I was out there working on the vines, pruning them, caring for them. I wrote more in 2006 and it made the long list again, then I submitted again finally making the shortlist.

I did a quite a lot of posting a while back about how I cut it back after some feedback and also to make it eligible for some slush piles. However, I hadn’t quite got it where I wanted it to go. And those slush piles. Shrug. Publishing is a different place from when I started writing way back when.

I was thinking to do another rewrite of Dragon Wine this year, as you do with a work  you never give up on, when I had a chance to submit it to Haylee Nash at Pan Macmillan Australia. The wonderful thing was she read it straight away and loved it. I was offered a deal with Momentum Books and I took it. All very quick. It felt amazing to have an editor read it and love it. You can’t imagine how it felt. I’ve been working on this book for 9 years.

So Dragon Wine is coming out really soon. It is coming out in two parts. Dragon Wine is the name of the series and the first book is Shatterwing, which is the name of the remains of the shattered moon above Margra, the planet where Dragon Wine is set. The second book is called, Skywatcher, which is the name given to the people who watch the skies and shoot down meteors. Alex Adsett, my literary agent, coined the term-post-apocalyptic dragons when she read it.

You can probably tell that this is a weird sounding fantasy as it seems to have science fiction elements. It does! It’s also a pretty dark fantasy in that the world is not nice and is inhabited by some pretty nasty and desperate people. Of course, my story is about the people who are good and want to change things. Anyway, you will have to wait for the blurb! Then not very long after for the books. I am hoping to launch them at Conflux in October in Canberra.

Meanwhile, I post things as I hear or see (like the covers!). I’ve just got the copy edits for the first part. And I’m going to get the next ones when I’m in the UK in August, eep! There is more to the story of course, but being a commercial world we need to see how these two go before decisions are made about the next installments. But I do have the next two drafted!

And I have good news for Dani K too, but that’s another blog!

warning-there may be typos!

Well we have no internet so that makes me more productive and so I’m writing this blog post wihtout an intenet connection because I’m waiting for the potatoes to bake.

David Dufty from the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild organised this retreat in Braidwood. However, we’re not quite in Braidwood but near it. It’s called Half Moon Retreat and it’s on a big property about 7 kilometers out of Margarlowe, which is about 13 kms from central Braidwood. It is three kms from the gate to the house. We are in deep. The house is large. It’s got a huge living area that could accommodate a country dance.

It is a great writing space with floor to ceiling french doors all around. Matthew and I arrived at night so we caught glimpses of stars, the full Milky Way in all its glory but nothing prepared us for the morning. The house is sitting on a ridge with spectacular views of wooded hills and scrub around us. There is some interenet but you have to sit by the water tank to catch a glimpse of it. And tonight, it is too darn cold and dark to try and get a connection.
There are five bedrooms in the house, three double rooms and two bunk rooms. We are in the room with an ensuite, which is lovely. We’re the only couple so that makes sense to me! There is one huge bathroom that’s the size of a bedsit. It’s huge and I’m guessing that everyone has to share that one. A bit of a disadvantage but it is still a fabulous house. We believe part of it is original and transported there, an old weatherboard place and the huge living area is built on as is the three quarter deck.

Last night and today as we had people coming and leaving we talked about writing goals. David likes to have a bit of structure and as he organised the retreat we are up for that. My goal was to write 10,000 words on my wip and then do some reworking and maybe outline my next novel, which is The Changling Curse, the sequel to The Sorcerer’s Spell. So far I’m on track as I’ve written 10,000 words today and put on the roast lamb!

I took a break in the middle of the day to walk to the river. I explored the property keeping to the graded road as there are mine shafts apparently. I found an old ruin, just the chimney and encountered a kangaroo, a few wombat holes, the river eventually which was amazing. It was still and quiet and the bird calls were amplified in that space that it sounded so loud and surreal. There was was another ruin of a miner’s cottage by the river too. I made my way back, loving the bush around me and day dreaming how much Matthew and I would like a place like this. It.s so quiet and picturesque that we cuddled on the verandah and watched the quiet grey hills and glimpsed the sunset while we were restocking the wood for the fire.
I like retreats because they make me focus. We have gathered to write and the expectation is there and that is great for me because I don’t shirk. I was hoping to be working on my new novel but I’ve been slack so I’m finishing one instead.
The day before  we came here I broke my laptop and the document I was working on is open on that one. I’m hoping that when the repairer looks at it I can retrieve if and then put the two documents together.If not Ill have to rewrite that little section I worked on during my writers date on Tuesday.
So as I have reached my word count, tomorrow will be about rewriting the ms and fixing things. You see I had a flash of insight that I needed to make the relationship between Earl and Nea more than about sex so I’m going to work on that and generally tidy up.

Here is a few selfies of us.

Selfie with some of the gang

Selfie with some of the gang

That's   us (ignore scary guy in the middle. Thats the Dweeb)

That’s us (ignore scary guy in the middle. Thats the Dweeb)

 

 
image

The living areas  with the windows and sun

The living areas with the windows and sun

Some of the view and the house

image

I’m pleased today to bring you and interview with the lovely and talented Jo Anderton. Jo is going to tell us about her new book, the follow up from Debris and Suited.

Jo Anderton

Jo Anderton

Hi Jo, can you tell us a bit about your new novel?

Guardian is the third book in the Veiled Worlds Trilogy, and the final step in Tanyana’s journey. The official blurb is:

“The grand city of Movoc-under-Keeper lies in ruins. The sinister puppet men have revealed their true nature, and their plan to tear down the veil between worlds. To have a chance of defeating them, Tanyana must do the impossible, and return to the world where they were created, on the other side of the veil. Her journey will force her into a terrible choice, and test just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the fate of two worlds.”

Unofficially, I’d say Guardian is about sacrifice and love. And the ending still makes me cry.

Jo can tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, how long you’ve been writing, previous publications etc)

I live in Sydney, with my husband and pets, and I’ve always written. Even as a kid I used to tell myself stories, and eventually decided I should try writing them down instead of just keeping them in my head.

Apart from the first two books of the Veiled Worlds Trilogy, Debris and Suited, I’ve also published a short fiction collection The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, which won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Collection.

Tell us a bit about why you write speculative fiction.

Because I can’t help it. Seriously, I’ve tried writing not-speculative fiction and it was so hard. It’s what I love, it’s how I think, and it is definitely how my writing brain works. All my ideas come with unusual worlds and/or magic systems attached to them. I usually blame my Dad for that. He brought me up on a diet of Tolkien and Star Trek and I can’t thank him enough.

Your novel is a third in a trilogy. Are we going to see more of it in future?

No plans at the moment, but there are possibilities. No story ever really ends, does it? And if this story did continue, I know the direction it would go. But for the moment, I’m excited to be working on new projects.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a new book currently called The Bone Gardens. It’s young adult, it’s science-fantasy, and heavily influenced by the movies of Studio Ghibli (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke in particular). Flying gardens of bone and toxic flowers, never-ending desert, steampunk cities, genetic engineering. That kind of thing. And I’m loving it!

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

I think of myself as somewhere in between a planner and a pantser. Before I start writing I always know the beginning, the end, and a few important plot points in between. I’ve learned that if I know too much of the story before I start writing it, I get bored! The joy in writing is telling myself the story, learning about the characters, and living it all as it happens. This usually means my first drafts are a wreck, and I have to go back and do significant rewriting, but that works for me too. The most important thing is to enjoy the process, and love telling stories!

I make sure I do something every day. Even if it’s not much — if I come home from work exhausted or my lower back can’t handle sitting in a chair anymore, I don’t beat myself up about it. Even a few words, or some blog posting is better than nothing. I have at least one full-time writing day a week, and most of my holidays are actually for writing J

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

Ha, my favourite part of the process is usually NOT the part I’m doing! If I’m writing a draft I long for revision, when I’m revising I long to be writing something new. The grass is always greener, you know?

But my overall favourite part is the planning — when an idea is fresh and new and full of potential and I can get swept away in it.

What part of writing do you find hardest?

Knowing when to stop. I’m terrible at working out when a story is done. If it was up to me, no story would ever be done, and I would probably tinker with them for eternity. This is why we have publishers and deadlines.

What do you plan to work on next?

The sequel to The Bone Gardens. I think it’s called The Fiery Skies and it’s been waiting very impatiently for me to pay attention. Soon, my precious. Soon.

Here is the cover of Guardian followed by some links to where you can find Jo on the web.

Cover image of Guardian by Jo Anderton

Cover image of Guardian by Jo Anderton

 

 

Website: http://joanneanderton.com/

Twitter: joanneanderton

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joanne.anderton.16

Details on fablecroft website are here: http://fablecroft.com.au/about/publications/guardian

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