My Spec Fic Reads for 2015 Part One

What where your favourite fantasy and science-fiction books and movies for 2015?  Here are a few of mine.

Star Wars 7 The Force Awakens

ReyForceAwakensReviewx300With all the hype and the long wait since the release of the last trilogy, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one.  My daughter and I saw it together on our trip to Melbourne in December after a day of looking at art galleries, graffiti lanes and traveling on the trams.

Star Wars 7, directed by J J Abrams, takes up the story twenty or more years after the end of Return of the Jedi. A new dark force, the First Order and dark user of the force, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), are out to destroy the Republic. Hans Solo and the Resistance are searching for a map fragment which will reveal location of the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker.

The movie was fast-paced, with lots of explosions, crashes and fire-fights.  Favourite characters Hans Solo, Chewbacca, Princess (now General) Leia, C3PO, A2D2 all make an appearance and new characters such as Finn (a reformed Storm Trooper) (John Boyega), Rey (an orphan left behind her family on  desert planet of Jaku with an affinity to the force) (Daisy Ridley), the droid BB-8, Maz Kanata and Kylo Ren (the dark ‘jedi’) who works for the mysterious Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke.  The plot echoes the past movies with a shocking (though not unpredictable) twist at the end.

We enjoyed the movie. For my son (who saw it with his father), it was ‘the best one yet.’ There was enough excitement, special effects, humour and emotion to keep us on the edge of our seats.  I love the fact that Finn is a person of colour and that Rey is a woman though, for some, this seems to encourage making the emo and conflicted Kylo Ren as the a dark anti-hero despite his terrible nature of his deeds. There are some obvious plot holes and many things left unexplained (how did the First Order arise and gain such devastating power so quickly, who is Snoke, why was Rey abandoned by her family and what is her connection to Luke, why did Luke walk out on the Republic and Resistance (even if his efforts to train more Jedi had disastrously failed)? No doubt some of these things will be revealed in the next couple of movies.

However, the more I think of it, the more I wish that The Force Awakens had deviated more from a recycling of old plot themes and scenarios. I guess it remains to be seen if the next two movies are more adventurous and more ready to risk alienating die-hard fans.

Mocking Jay Part 2

This final film from the Hunger Games trilogy, in which the Rebellion makes a final assault on the Capitol of Panem. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is the face of the resistance but, against orders, she teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick (Sam Claflin) to take out President Snow.

Again, I watched this movie with my daughter and thoroughly enjoyed it. It does verge on horror in a number of scenes, but the violence is not glorified. The movie stays faithful to the book and, in some ways, surpasses it. I can remember being very disappointed with the end of Mocking Jay (the book) for a couple of reasons, especially with regard to Prim – but also the death of a number of characters. I’ve had a number of years to think about why Suzanne Collins chose to end the book the way she did and I concluded that what happens to Prim was a necessary motivator for Katnis’ final actions and her realization that tyranny and the misuse of power was not the sole prerogative of Snow. Even so, (as I discuss here) it would be refreshing to see more peaceful and diplomatic means as a way of resolving problems. And while this may seem unrealistic – it can be done without necessarily spoiling the climatic thrill – as, for instance, in How to Train Your Dragon.  Not to quibble though, this was a fantastic movie.TriggerWarningreviex220w

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning (2005) by Neil Gaiman is a collection of short stories of fantasy, sci-fiction and horror. Some are quite brief and others are longer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with it’s effortless prose, great characterizations and storytelling. Gaiman has a quirky view of life in which danger and retribution lurks in unlikely corners. I’ve reviewed it more thoroughly here.

Anansi Boys

I enjoyed Trigger Warning so much, I went looking for another Gaiman book and came across Anansi Boys (2006).  This book has an unlikely hero in Fat Charlie, and touch of romance, and great twist at the end and draws from Caribbean mythology. It was fun read and I really must read more Neil Gaiman. Again I reviewed it here.

Fly by Night

As I loved Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass (2012), I was delighted to discover Fly by Night (2006). Like A Face Like Glass, this is also a Young Adult fantasy novel with a young teen protagonist combined with an intricate and fascinating, almost Baroque world and a complicated and inspired plot. Mosca Mye (named after the common house fly by her absent minded and erudite father) has to flee her village in the company of her goose, Saracen, and the dubious and smooth tongued Eponymous Clent. On arriving at Mandelion, they find themselves in the middle of intrigue, murder and an escalating feud between the Stationer’s Guild and the Locksmiths. This is a book about freedom of thought. And while I found it’s zealous Birdcatcher villains almost predictable in motivation (see a fuller review here), I still enjoyed the twists and turns, idiosyncratic characters and world building. Certainly, there is a need for tolerance and the freedom to discuss and contest different positions and values in a world where opposing points of view are often howled down or ridiculed in social media storm.

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Femme

Femme (2014) by Delia Strange is the first book published in the Wanderer of Worlds series (and multiverse). Kaley  has won a scholarship to the almost Utopian paradise of Femme, a matriarchal society in which men are slaves. Kaley is excited about pursing her future tech studies but finds it hard to adjust to the mores and expectations of this rich and beautiful world, especially when she is assigned a personal slave. The world-building in Femme is rich, multi-layered and delicious. There is an underlying romantic tension and social dissonance that gradually builds up a climax and a realistic (and satisfying) conclusion. By turning social stereotypes and traditional gender roles upside down, Femme makes one think.  I reviewed it here.

That’s the first 6 of my 12 picks for 2016.  I’ll continue with the next six in the next post.

I’d love you to tell me, have you watched or read any of these spec fic pieces? What did you think of them? What are your best reads and views for 2016.

Jeanette

Cross-post to Fantasy Trekkers.

LAG Blog Tour launch

On 14 January 2016 Like a Girl anthology was launched.

LikeAGirl

Why Like a Girl?

Did you know Beatrix Potter, the famed author and illustrator of the much loved Peter Rabbit books, was also a ground-breaking scientist? It’s true (see here). In the past, women’s achievements were often not seen as significant or worthy of attention. Sadder still, even today girls and woman are less likely than boys to be encouraged to learn or to explore the talents and abilities they have been given.

Unicef states:

‘Despite progress in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in education systems throughout their lives. An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013.’

They go on to say:

‘Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty: educated women are less likely to marry early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; and are more likely to send their children to school.’

UNICEF ‘Girl’s Education and Gender Equality, 23 July 2015

In Like a Girl, fourteen authors from around the world have contributed their stories to raise money for PLAN Australia’s support of girl’s education.  Like a Girl is a celebration of the strength and resilience of women, told in a variety of genres and voices, the proceeds of which will help empower girls and women across the globe. It turns the derogatory term ‘like a girl’ on its head, celebrating the contribution girls and women can and have made.

Like a Girl features stories and poems by Jeanette O’Hagan, Avril Sabine, V. Hartman Di Santo, Kathryn Hogan, Mary Grace, Coralyn Swift, Christina Aitken, Mark Taylor, D.L Richardson, Mimi Emmanuel, Erin Yoshikawa, Druscilla Morgan, Michelle John and Mirren Hogan.

They use intelligence, humour, adventure, imagination and deep emotion to explore themes of resilience, determination against odds, empowerment, significant relationships and women’s achievements.

Why Girl’s Education is important to me.

My poem ‘A Long Time Ago’ in the Like a Girl anthology, is drawn from my own school day experiences. I’m glad that, I not only had to the opportunity to finish school and go on to university, but that both my parents encouraged me to learn and to pursue my dreams.

Over the years, I’ve practiced medicine, taught theology, and am currently raising a family and pursuing my love of writing fantasy, poems, social commentary and blogging about life and writing.  The story I wrote for LAG, ‘Lakwi’s Lament’, is situated in the narrative world of the Akrad’s Legacy series (the first book due to be published in 2016). It explores the tension between a girl’s desire to learn and what her family and community expects of her.

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 Availability

Like a Girl is available from Amazon and other outlets.

Check it out on GoodReads.

Blog Tour

This post is the first step in the Like a Girl Plan anthology blogtour which will include reviews, reflections on the importance of education or women, prizes and giveaways.  (See below). Profits from this engaging anthology go to Plan Australia’s efforts to support and improve girls education.

Blog tour stops include:

Stop 1              24 Jan – Jeanette O’Hagan http://jeanetteohagan.com

Stop 2              25 Jan – Paula Vince http://vincereview.blogspot.com.au/
Stop 3              27 Jan – Mimi Emmanuel https://liveforeverhowto.wordpress.com/
Stop 4              29 Jan – Lynn Fowler  http://christianbookreviews.lynnbfowler.com
Stop 5              1 Feb – Maree Long

Giveaways

Today, I’m giving away a copy of Like a Girl to the person (not involved in anthology) who leaves best comment on the positive impact of girl’s education either personally or in the life of someone connected to them. This competition is open until 1 February, 2016. Winner to be announced on this blog.

I will also be giving away a copy of Another Time Another Place to the first person to sign up to my email Newsletter (see in side bar.)

Three other copies of Like a Girl are on offer through Like a Girl Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Next Exciting Stop

The next step on the Blog Tour is with multi-published, award-winning author of intriguing and thought provoking New Adult inspirational fiction, Paula Vince. I love Paula’s stories and am looking forward to her post on Monday 25 January 2016. You will be able find it here.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in prizes and giveaways, but more importantly, to be entertained and moved while supporting a worthy cause.

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 Available on Amazon

 

Congratulations

 

GOLnLAG

I’d like to congratulate

Kate Hillenberg

for winning a copy of Like a Girl anthology in my recent Glimpses of Light Blog Tour Giveaway.

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Jeanette

Glimpses of Light

Be challenged, captivated and moved by these imaginative reflections on faith, help in time of need, joy in the midst of tragedy, and surprising encounters with God.

During 2015, the International Year of Light, twenty-one authors from Australia and the United States have come together to explore the theme of ‘glimpses of light’—finding light in dark places—through short stories, poems, flash fiction and creative non-fiction.

Glimpses of Light includes contributions from respected and award-winning authors and poets Jo-Anne Berthelsen, Paula Vince, Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones, Jo Wanmer, Jeanette Grant-Thomson and Ellen Carr, as well as exciting new talent.

Profits from this anthology go to CBM Australia, giving sight to the blind.

Like a Girl Plan anthology

Fourteen Authors from around the world have contributed their stories to raise money for PLAN Australia.

‘Like a Girl’ is a celebration of the strength and resilience of women, told in a variety of genres and voices, the proceeds of which will help empower girls and women all over the world.

Featuring stories and poems by Jeanette O’Hagan, Avril Sabine, V. Hartman Di Santo, Kathryn Hogan, Mary Grace, Coralyn Swift, Christina Aitken, Mark Taylor, D.L Richardson, Mimi Emmanuel, Erin Yoshikawa, Druscilla Morgan, Michelle John and Mirren Hogan.

Glimpses of Light Blog Tour

Previous Blog Stop

In the last stop on the blog tour, Jo-Anne Berthelsen talks about how she came to write ‘Revelation’ for Glimpses of Light. It is a beautiful story, all the more special as it drawn from real events. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey.

Glimpses of Light

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Glimpses of Light started with a flash of inspiration – why not write a collaborative charity anthology to celebrate the 2015 International Year of Light. It has been exciting watching that small kernel blossom into a book. Both Nola and I were thrilled at the number and quality of entries we received, the enthusiasm of our contributors and the willingness to work with us during the different stages of editing, proofing and publishing. I love each of the stories, poems and reflective pieces.

My fantasy story was fun to write – it follows the adventures of a young woman, Ruhanna, who is expecting her father’s visit for her name-day when things begin to go very wrong. Here’s an excerpt:

Ruhanna sighed and began to step backwards when the carving of an albatross on a box, half covered by a goatshair scarf, caught the honey-hued rays of sunlight. She picked it up and slid open the beautifully fitted lid. Inside, on soft fabric, was an intricately carved pen of whale bone, inking stone and fine metal nibs.

‘This is perfect. How much?’

The old woman’s eyes brightened ‘Twenty Royals.’

‘Oh, no, far too much.’

They spent the next few minutes haggling. Ruhanna shook her head, regretting her impulsive enthusiasm. Favula was hard to beat down.

‘As you wish, fifteen Royals, but you drive a hard bargain. That’s most of my savings.’ But it was for her father. It was worth it. Her feet felt like dancing. He was coming from the Big Island tomorrow.

‘That’s a good choice, gentle lass.’ The old woman brushed her dark hands against Ruhanna’s silvery-white skin. ‘They say a sacred albatross guided our people across the ocean wastes after the Sundering, back in the mists of time when the old world ended.’

Ruhanna curved her lips in a polite smile, as she ran her hands over the soft toromo wood of the box and the bright green gems for the bird’s eyes. Mariam told the same far-fetched tale. ‘Why would a speechless bird do that?’

Favula’s hands stilled in packing away her treasures. ‘Some say the Maker sent it, others that the first Flame King himself took the shape of the bird and led the way to the Lonely Isles. Of twenty ships that set out only seven arrived at the Big Island, three wrecking on the chancy Twin Heads.’ She waved in the direction of the narrow entrance to Safety Bay beyond which lay the harbour town of White Havens. It could be tricky sailing, which is one reason the lighthouse had been built. Favula caught Ruhanna’s wrist in a tight grip, her voice low. ‘Some say your mother had the blood of the old kings and queens. Though your hair be brown, with your sea-green eyes, I reckon it could be true.’

Ruhanna’s heart began to thump. She moistened her suddenly dry mouth. ‘I don’t know what you mean. Father is Royal Minister of Shipping and Mines and a loyal subject to the Sea Dragon Throne.’ She tried to pull her arm free, but the old woman’s grip was surprisingly strong.

‘The winds are changing. Best be careful, child.’ Favula laid a roughened finger beside her nose, her mouth stretched wide in a gap-toothed smile. She released Ruhanna’s arm and chuckled.

The old woman’s hulking grandson, Benin, appeared behind her. ‘Hush Gramma, the Royal Guards will hear. Take no heed, Gentle. We are loyal subjects of King Nebunar.’

Zobar strode from where he had been standing, talking to the chandler, his brows furrowed over his mist-grey eyes. He took her arm. ‘Come Miss Ruhanna, we best be going. It will be dark soon.’

The sun had already disappeared behind the hump in the middle of the island, bleeding the sky with oranges, reds and purples. Beyond the dock the waves of the strait stretched out in a bloody reflection of the sky. The guards were looking her way.

Ruhanna drew her cloak around her, thankful for its warmth against a sudden gust of the wind. She gripped the gift she had selected for Baba and followed Zobar, ignoring the intense gaze of the Royal Guards.

 Sunrise2

Glimpses of Light is available through Amazon.com  ($12 US plus postage for print book or $3.50 US for kindle)

Giveaway

I’m offering a chance to win a print copy of Like a Girl anthology to the best answer on what’s your favourite genre and why.  And one extra chance to win your choice of either Another Time Another Place OR Let the Sea Roar if you sign up to my email Newsletter – to keep in touch with future publications and news.

3anthologies

Anthologies on Amazon Central

Next Stop Blog Tour

Sci-fi author, Adam Colling’s is hosting the next stop on the blog tour. Adam has recently published his novella ‘Lynessa’s Curse’ – set in a futuristic medieval Mars. He draws inspiration from his over-active imagination, life experiences and faith and is currently writing a space opera series set in the same universe as his GOL story, ‘A Light To My Path’. Adam discusses books, movies and computer games on his YouTube show: Stories with Adam Collings.

Adam will be posting on 12 January. In the meantime, you can check out his blog at www.adamdavidcollings.com

Jeanette

Less than three days before the Goodreads Giveaway of Glimpses of Light ends.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Glimpses of Light by Jeanette O'Hagan

Glimpses of Light

by Jeanette O’Hagan

Giveaway ends January 10, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Highlights of 2015

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and fantastic New Year in 2016

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2015 has been a whirlwind of a year for me. Here are some of the highlights.

Writing:

In January I did the Month of Poetry (writing over 30 poems), in July I wrote 30,000 words on Mannok’s Betrayal in Camp NaNo and 50,000 words on Jared’s Choice in November. In addition, I wrote 4 or 5 short stories.

NaNoWinner2015

Study:

I was thrilled to finish the Masters of Arts (Writing) through Swinburne University of Technology in July, attending the graduation ceremony last week. I have since enrolled in Year of the Edit.

Publication:

The publication of my story ‘The Herbalist’s Daughter’ in Tied in Pink seems to have broken the drought on publication. Since then I’ve had poems and short stories published in six other anthologies.  (Five of the seven anthologies are listed on my Amazon Central page.)

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‘Thunderstorm’ and ‘Floating’ in Poetica Christi’s Inner Child anthology

‘The Real Thing’ (second prize) and ‘Tree Dreaming’ in FAWQ’s Brio anthology (SVS Concepts)

‘Broken Promises’ in Another Time, Another Place anthology (Swinburne Students)

‘Lighthouse’ (poem) and ‘Sandy – Perfect Plans’ in Let the Sea Roar (By the Light Books)

‘Ruhanna’s Flight’ in Glimpses of Light (By the Light Books)

‘A Long Time Ago’ and ‘Brisbane Summer ABCs’ (poems) and ‘Lakwi’s Lament’ in Like a Girl (Far Horizons)

LikeAGirl

I’m working on publishing a longish short story Heart of the Mountain (11,000 words) in January 2016.  More on that soon :)

Jeanette O’Hagan

Giveaway:

For the chance to win one of two copies of Glimpses of Light – enter the Goodreads giveaway.

During 2015, the International Year of Light, twenty-one authors from Australia and the United States have come together to explore the theme of ‘glimpses of light’ through short stories, poems, flash fiction and creative non-fiction.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Glimpses of Light by Jeanette O'Hagan

Glimpses of Light

by Jeanette O’Hagan

Giveaway ends January 10, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

It’s all happening

Phew! I’ve hardily had time to catch my breath since July. So many exciting things happening. And best of all – six of my short stories and seven poems are either published or about to be published in seven different anthologies and one e-book(let) between December 2014 and December 2015.

So – here are some of the highlights:

Conference at Bacchus Marsh (October 2015)

Jenny book spotCWC2015x250Last weekend I had a fabulous time at the Christian Writers Conference at Bacchus Marsh – meeting up with old friends and discovering some new ones. It was a full program with inspirational messages, workshops and connecting in an idyllic location.

On the Saturday, I gave a workshop of Creating a Sense of Place in fiction and creative non-fiction.  I also had the opportunity to promote Tied in Pink anthology (particularly appropriate in Breast Cancer Awareness month) and two upcoming anthologies that my publishing business By the Light Books is launching in the next month or two.

I’m looking forward to next year’s conference in Sydney and an exciting year in 2016.

CWConference2015AttheAirportBx500

 NaNoWriMo

CampNaNo2015winnerbannerJOHx500In July I completed 30,000 words & editing equivalents on Mannok’s Betrayal. This third book in the Akrad’s Legacy Series is proving the hardest to write. I’m am very close to finishing the first draft – though editing and typesetting the two anthologies has taken my attention in the last couple of months.

Tomorrow, on 1st November – I start NaNoWriMo again with an enthusiastic group of friends. While I could be a NaNo rebel and edit during this month – I’m pining to write something new so will be aiming to write the last 50,000 words on Jared’s Choice (book 5).

Short-listed

I was thrilled to learn that two of my poems (‘The Real Thing’ and ‘Tree Dreamings’) were short-listed for the Toowoomba Writers’ Festival Literary Prize and will be published in the associated anthology.

Graduation

In June I finished my last subject for Master of Arts (Writing) with Swinburne University of Technology – and will be graduating in the week before Christmas.

Up Coming New Releases

In DecembInnerchildx200er last year Tied in Pink Romance Anthology (profits for breast cancer research) was released with my story ‘The Herbalist’s Daughter’ which continues Anna’s adventures in the palace begun in Fever.

Since then, I’ve had a number of other poems and short stories accepted for publication. I was expecting a few of these to be published by now but unavoidable delays means that it’s all happening in the months of November and December – with the exception of the Inner Child anthology (launched in July). Here’s the schedule for 2015:

 

July 2015  Poems ‘Thunderstorm’ & ‘Floating’ in Poetica Christi’s Inner Child anthology (available from here).

14 November 2015  Poems The Real Thing & Tree Dreamings shortlisted in Toowoomba Writers’ Festival Literary Prize anthology (presentation at Toowoomba Writer’s Festival)

LikeAGirl

15 November 2015  E-Launch of Like a Girl  anthology (editors Mirren Hogan and Christina Aitken)– promoting girls education through Plan Australia. My story ‘Lakwi’s Lament’ and poems ‘A Long Time Ago’ and ‘Brisbane Summer ABCs’ are in this anthology.

28 November 2015  Probable E-Launch of Glimpses of Light anthology (editors Jeanette O’Hagan and Nola Passmore) – stories and poems of hope. With 21 authors (including several award winning novelists and poets) and 27 stories and poems, this anthology explores light in the midst of dark situations and supports the Christian Blind Mission. My story ‘Ruhanna’s Flight’ is part of the anthology.

5 December 2015 – E-Launch of Another Time, Another Place – an anthology of stories by Swinburne University of Technology Post-graduate writing students and a foreword by Professor Josie Arnold. My story ‘Broken Promises’ has been included in the anthology. You can view the book trailer here.

14 December 2015 – E-Launch of Let the Sea Roar (editor Madeleine Calcutt)– inspirational stories of women facing different challenges in life. My story ‘Sandy: Perfect Plans’ and poem ‘Lighthouse’ are included. This story is the only contemporary one – all my other short stories are fantasy set in the world of Nardva.

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26 December 2015 – probable E-launch of the Kindle version of my short story (11,000 words) Heart of the Mountain.

I’ll be posting more information over the next few weeks :)

So, it looks like it’s going to be a busy few months – and I’m working towards publishing the first few books in the Akrad’s Legacy series in 2016.

I do hope you can join me in some, if not all, these launches of fabulous mix of anthologies. Maybe, you’ll find something to add to your Christmas list and/or an enjoyable way to support some great causes. Certainly there is many hours of great reading in these different collections of short stories and poems.

Now where is that to-do list …

Jeanette

Blog Award Tour

 HeartSunrisex300 c Jeanette O'Hagan July 2012 All rights reserved.

My co-editor in Glimpses of Light anthology, editor at The Write Flourish, poet and writer, Nola Passmore tagged me for the Blog Award Tour. Nola has over 150 short pieces (short stories, flash fiction, poems, and devotions) published and is currently writing her first novel, with parallel modern and historical narratives which intersect on Nova Scotia, Canada. It all sounds intriguing and I’m looking forward to reading it. You can read more about her current writing projects here.

Nola has asked me to answer the following four questions as part of the blog tour.

1. WHAT YOU’RE WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

I’m got a few things going at the moment. I’ve in the middle of co-editing an anthology Glimpses of Light, I am doing final edits of my story that has been accepted for another anthology (Like a Girl) and I am in the middle of Camp NaNo racing to complete Mannok’s Betrayal – editing and filling in the gaps. This is the third manuscript of my Akrad Children’s trilogy – a secondary world YA fantasy with romantic elements, adventure and courtly intrigue.  My short story ‘The Herbalist’s Daughter’ (published in Tied in Pink anthology in December last year) is set in the same story world.

2. HOW DOES YOUR WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN YOUR GENRE?

My novels are not typical Young Adult (YA) in that they are multi-protagonist and generally cover more than a year though the point of view characters are teens to early twenties with themes of loss, relationships, identity, belonging, and coming of age. Because it is secondary world fantasy courtly intrigue with multiple points of view, it does have some co-incidental correspondences with Game of Thrones (though without the level of violence and graphic sex).  It differs from a lot of other fantasy is that it is not set in a obviously European medieval society but uses the Southern Hemisphere for inspiration and has, I believe, strong female characters who aren’t necessarily ‘kick-ass’ warriors.

3. WHY DO YOU WRITE OR CREATE WHAT YOU DO?

I write because it is exhilarating and my stories entertain me. I write because the stories are there, inside of me, and they want to get out. I have had the idea of the Akrad cycle or series (which may end up about 14 books) since the 1980s and the fictional world of Nardva since I began imagining it at the age of nine. The stories have grown and flourished over time. I want to see these stories to take shape beyond my imagination. I also hope, that my stories can inspire a sense of hope and meaning, the value of human life, the beauty and complexity of our world as well as its challenges and horrors, and also as sense of the One who spoke it into being and seeks to renew and restore all things.

4. HOW DOES YOUR WRITING/CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?

Once I have an idea for a story, I think through a rough outline or work out major plot points, usually including the beginning and the end. I might write this outline done (in bullet points).  I spend a lot of time allowing the story to incubate, and spend time daydreaming, allowing the characters to inhabit the scenes, to speak and act and to do surprising things. These days – as I am at this stage with three or four novels ahead of those I am currently working on, I write these ideas down in notebooks to refer to later. I also draw maps, model buildings, draw out family trees etc. Then I sit down and write, often adapting the imagined scenes so they fit into chapters and the (rather rigid) structure of a novel. I might have to leave things out or change things as I go, solving plot problems or issues of pacing or characterisation. I will research issues as they arise in writing the narrative (to ensure verisimilitude) and also make sure that the novel fits in with the others in terms of timeline, family and political relationships and the realities of my fictional world. Once the first draft is finished,  the editing process begins. Though often, I prefer to move on to the next book as the ideas and stories continue to percolate.

 

Thanks, Nola, for giving me the opportunity to share some thoughts about my current projects and writing process.

I’d now like to tag three friends and fellow authors Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones and Alison Stegert:

Lynne Stringer is an editor and author. She has published her popular Verindon trilogy (The Heir, The Crown, The Reign) and has another contemporary novel ready to publish. She’ll be answering these four questions on her blog on Monday 27th July. In the meantime, you can check out her writing at her website http://www.lynnestringer.com/

Adele Jones has published a fast paced, YA thriller Integrate. The sequel Replicate will be published later this year and she also has a historical romance on the cusp of publication. She’ll be answering the same questions on her blog on Monday 3rd August. You can check out her writing at her website http://www.adelejonesauthor.com/blog/

Alison Stegert has a blog looking at internet safety (e-Quipped) and writes fantastic middle grade adventures. She’ll be answering these four questions on her blog on Monday 10th August. In the meantime, you can check out her writing at her website http://ali-stegert.com/

Thanks for taking the time to follow my current writing adventures :)

Jeanette

Catching Up

JennyJuly15bx200A big apology for taking so long to write an update. Okay, so I have no real excuse other than being rather busy. What have I been doing since February?

Finished

Last month I complete the final unit of the Master of Arts (Writing) at Swinburne University of Technology. Hard to believe it gone so fast. I started the Masters in 2012. The very first unit inspired me to dust off the novel I’d written decades ago, and start again after a long break from writing fiction. Now, three and a half years later, I have four books close to or beyond first draft, a few others plotted or started, and countless poems and short stories written. I’ve made a bunch of new friends, discovered a whole community of writers and learned so much about the craft. It has been, as they say, a blast – and is only just the beginning of my writing journey.

Launch

I was thrilled to learn that two of my poems Thunderstorm and Floating will be published in Poetica Christi’s 2015 Inner Child anthology. The launch of the anthology will be on Saturday July 25th at the Lutheran Hall, 711 Station St, Box Hill. It’s a bit far for me to travel but I can’t wait to get a copy of the anthology in my hands. Copies will be available at the launch or directly through Poetica Christi.

Accepted

I’ve currently got three short stories accepted for publication – one contemporary and two secondary world fantasy:

‘Sandy: Perfect Plans’ in Let the Sea Roar anthology (to be published by By the Light Books in August)

‘Broken Promises’ – part of the Barrakan Tales set in the Northern Hemisphere of Nardva – is to be published in a historical themed anthology by past and current Swinburne students called Another Time, Another Place to be published this year.

and

‘Ruhanna’s Flight’ – connected to the Tamrin Sagas – in Glimpses of Light anthology to be published in November this year by By the Light Books in conjunction with Christian Writers Downunder.

I’ve been involved in the editing and publishing Glimpses of Light and Let the Sea Roar.

I’m also hoping to release on Kindle my short story / short novella Heart of the Mountain later this year.

I am following up professional edits on Akrad’s Children.

I’ll post publication details once they become available.

July Camp NaNoWriMo

This July I’ve teamed up with some friends to form 2 cabins in the July Camp NaNoWriMo. This is a cut-down version of the NaNoWriMo challenge. For one thing, you can set your own goals. And NaNo rebels are not frowned upon. I decided it was time to finish Mannok’s Betrayal (the third in the Akrad’s Children‘s trilogy). I’ve been working through gaps that need filling in, and editing. Following the rubric – one hour of active editing equal 1000 words, I’ve done 21700 words in the last 12 days – and have had to increase my goal from 20,000 to 25,000 to 30,000 words. I’m thoroughly enjoying immersing myself in the story and loving it. I had to tear myself away from the Five Lands to write this post.

Well that’s enough about me for now.

Three Rivers Road

THREE RIVERS ROADI would however also like to give a shout out to my friend ‘Jane Batholomew’ – who has written an Australian contemporary drama Three Rivers Road. This is not a Young Adult book. It follows the adventures of a nurse in the remote communities in the Kimberley, Western Australia – and gives insight into the people, the challenges and the landscape. It includes romance and drama but doesn’t sugar coat the realities. ‘Jane’ draws from her own experiences of nursing in remote communities across Australia. You can purchase a copy here.

As you can see, quite a lot has been happening. I’ll won’t wait so long next time to give you the news. And once I get the chance to catch my breath, I’m planning to put another short story in from the Tamrin Tales on this website – this time following Haka or Rokkan’s perspective – as requested by our Scavenger Hunt winner.

Watch this space!

Jeanette O’Hagan

 

Tied in Pink Giveaway

TiedinPinkx200 Writing in January

It’s hard to believe it’s February already. I completed the Month of Poetry 2015 having written 33 poems – some serious, some humorous, some long, many short. I posted the poems up on my Facebook page each day. As always, it was a lot of fun and I blog about it here.

I also finished a first draft of “Broken Promise” – a fantasy adventure set in the same world as the Akrad Legacy series and Tamrin Tales – but on a different continent. I am hopeful of having a few stories published this year in anthologies.

The Big News – Tied in Pink GoodReads Giveaway

But the big news is the that you have the opportunity to win a beautiful print copy of Tied in Pink. As I mentioned before, my story “The Herbalist Daughter” features in this anthology – and it takes up Anna’s story though both Naetok and Rokkan also feature. Tied in Pink is available in Kindle or print form (more info here).

Tied in Pink is a charity anthology – with all the profits going toward Breast Cancer Research – and each story has an Easter egg – the mention a pink ribbon. Each of the 14 authors added a dedication to their stories. I gave a copy of Tied in Pink to two best friends whose lives have been significantly touched by breast cancer – and look forward to giving a copy to another couple of friends similarly affected soon.

For the next 9 days, we are running a GoodReads Giveway of Tied in Pink. It finishes on the 10 February 2015 – 4 days before Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to sign up HERE if you are already in GoodReads. And I’d love you to visit and follow my author’s page as well which includes a regular update on blogs from Jeanette O’Hagan Writes among other things.

If you are not a member of GoodReads – you might just want to join up. It’s a wonderful community of readers, a great way to keep track and review your favourite books and authors and to discover new books to read. (I blogged about GoodReads here).

So best of luck on the giveaway.

And if you do win the book or buy it and read it – we would love you to leave an honest review on Amazon, GoodReads, BookLikes and/or your blog (if you have one).

My first box of books arrive.

My first box of books arrive.

Jeanette

3 February 2015