Business Blog, Children's Fiction

New books on the way (finally!)

Okay I know I’ve been super slack with getting these new editions done, which is for several reasons. One is that these editions won’t be illustrated (there are still the gorgeous, limited run Illustrator’s Editions available though – see them here), the other is that there’s a price hike which I feel bad about, and the other is just time.

Illustrator’s Edition: Limited Run Hardback

Time has felt scarce lately, though to be honest a lot of it has been spent worrying, procrastinating, and consumed in self-doubt. With a little help from friends, a lot of positive self-talk, and some time reflecting inwards I am now on the upward with this. There will be some changes in my lifestyle so I make sure I am enjoying what I do, though part of it was just adjusting to new challenges.

The other two reasons are just about money. I first published in 2015, and at the point I had only been writing and publishing for two years. That’s not a lot of time to learn how to write, edit, publish, and market! So I’ve been learning on the job, which means I’ve made a bunch of mistakes. One of them was underpricing – I had thought most of my sales would be eBooks so I could price my print books lower but it’s the exact opposite. I also hadn’t thought too much about the bookseller/wholesale discount, and I would like this to be an option while still making a profit.

So. I’m putting my business hat on and making these difficult decisions. The upside is that those of you who have the illustrated editions are extra lucky ๐Ÿ™‚ Just FYI – there are still plenty of book 3, Beyond the End of the World available. You can buy them online or from the Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop.

I’m still working on The Caretaker of Imagination cover art, but the other titles are done. You can also expect to see You Can’t Cure A Witch’s Curse in print – I know I’ve been promising that for like a year! So thanks for your patience.

On a positive note, I’ve played around with the covers a lot and I think that these ones reflect the tone of the stories, my voice, and that they’re fantasy/adventure that’s a little bit different. Yay ๐Ÿ™‚ They should arrive in a month!


January review: being mindful of my focus

It’s funny how quickly comparisonitis has tried to set its teeth in. This year, I won’t let it win. It’s part of my personal goal to develop a healthy mindset. I’m listening carefully to the voices in my head, and changing the tune when necessary.

I’ve also had a think about my blog. I feel like I became entrenched in the ‘woe is me’ mindset and a change is as good as a holiday!

So here’s what’s going to happen on a weekly basis:

From the bookshelf: a book I’m reading,ย  a review of something I’ve read, or a book I’ve just added to my TBR (to be read) tower.

In the studio: whatever I’m working on at the time – an update on my book progress, painting, zines, or something I’ve been learning.

Out and about: an event I’ve attended or hosted, or something I’m looking forward to attending.

And every month I’ll do a review summary looking back on the month. After February, the podcast will resume, as will my daily challenges. I’m working full time at the day jobs for a few weeks and have to adjust my creative work to suit.

So, here is January’s monthly review. Kudos if you’ve read this far along!

– I’ve organised all the ladies who are contributing to the next (wo)manpower zine, and I am blown away by their stories! It’ll be out next month.

– Beyond the End of the World is with the printer, and everything is set for the launch. It’ll be available in online stores soon (with an intro price of 99c – sign up to my newsletter if you want to be notified) and in print on the 20th February.

– The next series of books are well underway. Book one draft is complete, and book two is about 30% done. I’m going to be illustrating this series myself which is a new challenge!

– I have done lots and lots of reading,  and thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to read widely again. I’m reading a mix of children’s books, my tried and true favourite authors, and a bunch of new ones.

– Painting has also gotten underway but not very far. I’m going to focus on painting again after the book launch.

And that’s it for me! Looking forward to a February full of awesome events and a bit of progress. What about you – how has your January shaped up? What are you looking forward to in February?


Getting healthy, and getting rid of excuses

I’m in a ‘getting healthy’ phase at the moment. What seems to happen is that I start exercising and eating properly, and then it becomes a habit for a while… and then something slips.

However, I take solace in the fact that each time I slip back, it’s a little bit less than last time. Even though I’ve slipped backwards, I’m still having less sugar than I used to, more fruit than I used to, and am at least exercising occasionally.

In today’s world, it’s harder to stay healthy than it was even twenty years ago. Being a writer adds to that: I spend most of my morning in front of the laptop, or at the table with my journal, or sitting and exchanging ideas with a friend.

Exercise and healthy eating becomes an effort, and that’s when it begins to decline.

But why is it even important? As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I seem to have a million things going on at the same time – and I don’t even have children! I need the energy to tackle marketing, to keep the creative juices flowing, and to be the best person I can be for my students, my friends, my family and my readers. A lack of energy is what I notice first when I’m not making healthy choices.

I’m also just a happier person when I’m giving my body what it needs.

There are a few things I’m doing to re-build good habits. Basically, I’m looking at what my excuses are and finding ways around them.

I used to go walking in the Waitakere Ranges. Now, that’s too far away so I would walk in the park first thing in the morning. Then, winter set in and it got too cold. Now, I walk during the day, before I go to my day jobย (I work in the afternoons) and take a pair of sports shoes and a spare top with me.

I’ve also started the 30 Day Yoga Challenge with Do You Yoga. Every day for 30 days, I get an email with a different yoga routine. They’re between 10 and 20 minutes long, which is totally doable and can be done from the warmthย of my own home. I don’t have to spend time finding a routine, and it doesn’t take a huge chunk out of my day. Easy.

Fridayย was my first day. It wasn’t too strenuous, but my muscles were incredibly tight, and my mind wandered a LOT. Everything takes practice, and I’m sure that by the end of the 30 days I’ll be feeling fantastic.

Watch this space.

What do you do to look after your health?

How do you deal with lapses in health?

Why is good health important to you?

Monday Musings

Monday Musings: It’s launch week!

Even though I’ve already posted today, I would like to keep this Monday postings thing regular. Routine – albeit flexible routine – helps me, and I reflection & goal-setting are a great start to any week.

Last week, there were several moments where I stopped, considered the moment I was in, and realised that I wasn’t happy with where I was at. It was triggered by the workshop with Butterfly Clinic, which brought home how much anxiety I was letting myself get caught up in.

Awareness is the first step towards change, though, and I managed to get some walking and some meditation in last week. I got a bit of journalling done, and achieved some of the things I set out to do. I’m working towards a lifestyle where I can work on creative projects – whatever they may be – with some level of choice and flexibility. All my work is done with one thought for myself, and another for bringing creative opportunities to those who might otherwise miss out.

So, how did I go last week?

  • I cleaned up my studio, at least, and got some cleaning done on the rest of the house.
  • Drawing challenge and writing pages are done forย the launch partyย and just need to be printed.
  • I got my butt in the chair for a bit of writing, but am not happy with my discipline yet. More writing!!
  • And on the weekend, I visitedย the Mt Eden Village Craft Marketย and have applied for next month’s event.

And this week?ย Well, it’s launch weekend, so pretty much everything is geared towards getting (and staying) organised.

  • All the prep materials (drawing pages, crayons, signage, decorations etc.) ready for the event.
  • More house cleaning, and getting rid of some unnecessary ‘stuff’
  • Beyond the End of the Worldย drafting!
  • Lots of walking & plenty of water – got to keep myself healthy when my brain is in pre-launch mode.
A to Z Challenge, The Caretaker of Imagination

It’s sort of for Grown Ups

For the April A-Z blogging challenge, I’ll be blogging about my latest release, The Caretaker of Imagination.

Throughout the process of writing this book, I found it really hard to settle on a genre. I couldn’t even decide on an age group for it! I sentย the first few chapters for a sample critique from an agent a while ago, who told me that since it’s got an adult protagonist I should be writing for adults. That threw me for a while, and I lost direction (she did say ‘comedy’ though, so I was glad things came through as funny!)

With advice from my beta readers, I eventually settled back on the book being for children – but sort of for grown ups as well. I noticed thatย What Stars Are Made Of was a bit like that, too.

I think the reason is that I don’t hold back when writing for children. Obviously, I keep it all PG-rated, but the depth of emotion and experience are not shallowed out for children. I believe that as grown ups we have a terrible tendency to think children are somehow less intelligent or mature than we are. Which is codswallop, clearly.

Whether you’re a child, or a grown up, or somewhere in-between –ย you can purchase The Caretaker of Imaginationย from one of the links below: