GenreCon 2017

Hi Guys,

For the last three days I have been at GenreCon held at the State library of Queensland at Southbank in Brisbane, Australia. This was the first GenreCon I’ve attended and wow, what an experience. It was three days jampacked full of workshops, seminars, panels and socialising with some writing greats. Everyone was fantastic and while I can’t thank everyone here, I would like to make particular mention to Zaide Bishop for her ‘Half A Million Words in Nine Months Workshop’, Belinda Pollard for her ‘Perfect Your Book’ workshop, Aiki Flinthart for her ‘How to Write Fight Scenes for Women’ workshop and Alex Adsett for her ‘Top 10 Tricks and Traps of Publishing Contracts’.

The panellists were also fantastic. They included such authors like Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Nalini Singh, Delilah Dawson and Claire Coleman. The panels were both informative and hilarious with many laughs being had.

I met many new authors at this event and got to catch up with other author friends. My head is full to bursting with all the new information and I can’t wait to put the advice into practice. If you’ve considered going to a GenreCon, I heartily suggest it and know that I will not be missing it for many years to come.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Peter Ball and all the volunteers and organisations that helped to put it together. You guys have done an utterly fantastic job.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured image: The above image is the panellists of the final panel on Sunday afternoon. They are from left Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Nalini Singh, Emma Viskic, Delilah S. Dawson, Claire Coleman, Sean Williams, Daniel Findlay and Amy Andrews.

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Where Demons Lie

Hey guys,

I know I say this every post but wow. This year is just rocketing by. How is it we are almost in November already!

These last few months have been busy ones for me. I sent THE BLESSED CURSED out to my Beta Readers and got some really positive feedback. One of the most repeating issues was with the length of the novel so, after much thought, I re-worked and split the novel into two shorter books. It’s now THE BLESSED CURSED, book one complete at 80k words and WHERE DEMONS LIE, book two complete at 95k words. I’m much happier with the story being two novels instead of one.

And so it was this week I started the arduous search for a literary agent to represent the novel and myself. This process can take some time as I need to research each agent, find the ones I’m happy with and hand craft individual queries to each of them. Response times for agents are normally in the weeks and most will reject the project however I always have hope I’ll find my agent one day and oh what a day that will be.

As some of you may know, November is NaNoWriMo or try to write a 50k word novel in a month. Last year I was working hard to finish editing on THE BLESSED CURSED so I skipped it. This year I’m going to be participating again. Not sure how I’ll go. I seem to time being sick really well with NaNoWriMo. I haven’t planned the novel yet at this stage but am hoping to do that next week. Fun fact, I started THE BLESSED CURSED in the NaNoWriMo of 2014. Only wrote about 25k words then but look at it now! If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to connect with me.

GenreCon Brisbane is also coming up in November. It’ll be a fun three day convention full of writing workshops, writing talks and all things writing. I’m looking forward to it. Let me know if you’re attending as well.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Image: The featured image is the base art for the cover of STANDING IN THE WIND’S SHADOW. He was meant to be a little Wyvern but unfortunately never got finished. I still love him though. He sits next to the salamander from BIRTH BY FIRE’S EMBRACE’s cover as my desktop.

Edit, Review, Re-write and Repeat

Greetings!

Well it looks like this year is going to fly by even quicker than 2016. I cannot believe that it’s almost June. That’s half way through the year! Wasn’t it just Christmas last week?

I’ve done it. The latest round of editing, reviews and re-writing for The Blessed Cursed are complete. I typed the last words in on Sunday and boy did they feel good. And now the bad news. I want to edit it again. The whole thing. All 175,000 words. I’m sorry.

Since I started this last round of editing, I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King. And it was fantastic. So much so, I’m actually excited to put their advice into practise with my own manuscript, and for those of you who don’t know me well, it takes a lot to get me excited about editing. But they managed it with great straight forward advice about how to edit your manuscript until it’s the most polished and strongest it can be. And if I’m going to interest the Literary Agent I’ve my heart set on, then the manuscript really needs to be top of its game.

So my plan is to bullet point the main lessons from Self Editing and make a list. Then I will print off every chapter and go through and check each bullet point against each chapter.

I can’t give you a time estimate as to how long it will take. It depends on the extend of my editing. It may take a month or a year but I will be working hard the entire time to get it finished.

Once done, it’ll be sent off to some Beta Readers for their opinion. If you would like to be a Beta Reader for The Blessed Cursed, please contact me here.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: The beautiful flowers my parents sent me for my Birthday earlier in May. Love them (both the flowers and my parents).

Happy 2017

Greetings and happy 2017 to all.

I know I’m a bit late and it’s already February. Hopefully this year won’t pass as quickly as 2016 did.

In my last post I promised I would have the reviews on Blessed Cursed finished by January. Guess what, didn’t happen. I’m still working on it. But, and I have to keep reminding myself this, it’s not a bad thing. Every revision makes the book stronger, more polished and overall a better read. In early January I decided I didn’t like the way the story ended. So I deleted the last 25k words and have been re-planning and re-writing it since. I’m much happier with this new ending (or at least I am right now. Ask again when I’ve finished writing it!). I should be able to finish re-writing the end before March.

I say that but I should mention my husband and I are currently buying a house and there is nothing like packing up and moving house to disturb a writing schedule. But stay with me. Don’t give up. It will be finished eventually, I promise.

Last week I finished an online class I enrolled in taught by none other than the James Patterson. For those who don’t know him, he is predominantly a thriller and mystery writer. He is the best selling author in the world today. And he certainly knows what he is talking about. While I’m not a thriller or mystery writer, I believe the lessons of suspense and fast paced driven plot lines can be applied across different genres. It was nice to be taught by a genuinely successful author. He has a passion for writing and years of experience. For those of you interested in taking the class, it can be found here.

That’s all from me for now. I sincerely hope the next post from me in March reads those magical words ‘finally finished the dam thing’ but I make no promises. It’ll be finished when it’s finished. 🙂

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: The picture above is one taken from my garden. Can anyone spot the hidden intruder?

Why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year

Greetings all,

I do hope this year is treating you well and you all had a fantastic Halloween. As any fellow writers out there would know, November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. It’s a time where authors everywhere try to write 50,000 words in a single month towards one book or project. The exercise is not designed to churn out bestsellers but to get writers into the habit of writing every single day, something that’s very hard to do.

I won’t be competing in NaNoWriMo this year purely because I am still 100% focused on reviewing and editing Blessed Cursed. I do not want to put it aside for a month to write on another project. I want it done!! I made a promise that it would be completed this year and I still have a full third of the manuscript to finish. (AAAHHHH!!)

This novel is driving me to distraction. When I ‘finished’ it in February, it was only about 100k words and about 24 chapters. Since my reviews and edits have started, it’s now 160k words, over 35 chapters and I’m not even done yet!!! Maybe it was premature to call it ‘finished’ in February. My edits have been extensive and I’ll admit a great deal of the book is totally different from the original, but I think, much better. Sooo much better. It may be taking me a long time and I may be practically re-writing the majority of the novel but overall I think Blessed Cursed will be stronger and better than ever when I can finally throw down my keyboard and declare it officially done. Then it’s onto Beta Readers and potentially more changes but I’m not thinking about that right now 🙂

I’m making this promise to you too, dear reader, so you can hold me to it and keep me on track. The reviews and edits will be finished by the New Year. Beta Readers will start in January 2017. Please let me know if you are interested in becoming a Beta Reader for Blessed Cursed.

Till next time,

Ashleigh

P.s. The image above is the view from the Bunya Mountains in Queensland, Australia where I was recently for a beautiful wedding. Amazing place with wild birds who eat seed straight out your hand and more wallabies than I’ve never seen in one place before.