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

 

Writing Milestones

Hoping you have all had a wonderful holiday season. Apart from contemplating taking our Christmas Tree down – the last several weeks have been crammed with holidays, family, celebrations and some exciting writing milestones. I’ve been a bit slack keeping you up to date – so my apologies.

November

Writing Retreat

WritersRetreat2014x200In the last week of November, I joined eight other lovely writers for a Writing Retreat.  It was a hoot – with lots of laughter, talking, food, encouragement, inspiration – and even some writing done.  It was a great idea. A particular highlight was my writing friends cheering me on as I crossed the finishing line for NaNoWriMo (once I got over the writer’s block induced by having such an expectant audience 😀 ).

 

 

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWinner2014Logo2x200Which brings me to my second news – completing NaNoWriMo again this year. The aim of NaNo (or National Writing Month in November) is to complete 50,000 words on a novel. I started writing Jared’s Choice (the forth book in the series) and was happy to get a good chunk of this work completed. In the meantime, I’ve asked a professional editor to a good look at Akrad’s Children.

 

December

Tied in Pink Anthology

TiedinPinkx200December has been particularly exciting for me, as on the 14th December (the day before my birthday) Tied in Pink anthology was released. Tied in Pink is a romance anthology with 15 stories by 14 different authors, with all profits going to breast cancer research. My short story, ‘The Herbalist’s Daughter’ carries on Anna’s story. Anna, if you remember, is the protagonist of Fever.  The anthology has some beautiful, heartwarming, gripping and/or funny stories from both veteran and aspiring authors. Here’s my Good Reads review :). Both print and e-books are available from Amazon.

With the publication of Tied in Pink – I now have an author’s page on Good Reads and Amazon. I would love you to follow me there – and, if you haven’t already, on my author’s page on Facebook or on Twitter. I will shortly be starting an email subscription list to notify when I post blogs and other news.

January

Month of Poetry

I am currently participating in Month of Poetry once again. The aim is to write a poem a day in the month of January. So far I’m on track and have been posting my attempts on my Facebook page.

#instacollage #JeanetteOHagan

#instacollage

I was particularly thrilled to receive an email yesterday informing me that one of my poems that I wrote last year has been accepted for publication in an anthology. Only 25 poems are accepted each year. More news on this later.

So, as you can see, it’s been a busy and exciting time. I do plan to write a story on Haka, Rokkan, Martal or Naetok as requested by Nicky, the winner of the Scavenger Hunt and will post it on the website for you all to read.

Jeanette O’Hagan

11 January 2015

Namu of the Waterfall

Namu of the Waterfall is an old Tamrin love song. It is first mentioned in Akrad’s Children though Rasel refers to the underlying legend in both Rasel’s Song and Mannok’s Betrayal.

Namuswaterfall6x450

Namu dances to the song

of the rainbow spray

silver voice mingling with

double moonlit ray.

Drifting through fine mist

bright child of sylvan folk

in water-gated cave she plays.

 

An echo haunting the waters’ spray

Her voice mingles in double moons’ bright ray.

Mingling in double moons’ bright ray.

 

 

Stark shouts disturb

the shining dark

booted feet, flailing arms,

brutal blows are struck

lucid water churnes

as lost prince is stripped by thieves

and left to die in heartless lark.

 

At last the villains are gone

Namu weeps to see the bloodied dawn

Swimming out to pool’s edge

she looks upon Solik’s prone form

crystal waters sullied

from his seeping wounds,

her heart is torn.

Read more….

My Writing Process – Blog Tour #mywritingprocess

I was asked to join in with this blog tour on My Writing Process by Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky. You can read her post here.

And here are my answers to the questions given.

1) What am I working on?

I’m working on a few of projects at the moment. My main passion is for my YA/NA fantasy fiction Akrad series. I’ve written three of the books (Book 1, 2 & 4) and am correctly close to finishing Book 3 Mannok’s Betrayal. Pulling all the threads together has been a challenge but one I enjoy. I have started sending out Book 1 Akrad’s Children to publishers and will be soon sending Book 2 Rasel’s Song to my faithful beta-readers.

I am also doing a Masters of Arts (Writing) – two units this term – which involve major writing tasks. Fortunately, I can use what I’m doing with Mannok’s Betrayal as part of my assessment for one of the units.

I participated in Month of Poetry (MoP) in January (the challenge of writing one poem a day) and have continued writing poems as the whim takes me. And I blog both for my own blogs and for a couple of group blogs.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My Akrad series is secondary world fantasy aimed at Young Adult to New Adult (ages 15-24) audiences. The books are set in an imaginary world of Nardva with complex societies, history, geography, literature, mythologies – but they are not high or epic fantasy (i.e. hero saves the universe from total destruction plot). Nevertheless, they are still full of suspense, danger, adventure, intrigue, romance and mystery. The stories are from the point of view of the younger characters (teens to early twenties) but they continue to interact with other generations. Each book can be read on its own but is also part of an overarching plot. There is also a slow reveal of magical elements with ongoing mystery throughout the series.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love fantasy and I love writing. Fantasy was my favourite genre as a child (and still is). At about 9 I began daydreaming my own fantasy world with lots of characters and stories. This became the world of Nardva. The Five Lands (where the Akrad Series is set) is a part of this world. Writing my own books fires my imagination and keeps me entertained.

4) How does your writing process work?

Well, it starts with day dreaming. Sometimes I compose the whole story  in my head before beginning to write (often a few times with changes and usually with far more than I can use in the book). However, these days I do start the writing process earlier. I usually have a basic structure – the beginning, the climax and turning points and a good idea of the end as well as the main characters in mind before I start writing. Then I fill in the gaps – and I am often surprised at what comes out in the process. It’s definitely a lot of fun.

Here are two of my friends who will be posting the “My Writing Process” blog tour posts on Monday March 17th. Please check out their blogs next week.  

Lynne Stringer –  Lynne has been passionate about writing all her life. She was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, and currently works as a professional editor and proof reader. Lynne wrote her YA sci-fi romance novel, The Heir, in 2010. The Heir is the first book in the Verindon trilogy. This book was followed by The Crown. The final book, The Reign, will be released in May 2014. You can find Lynne online at  www.lynnestringer.com

Alison Stegert – Ali Stegert is a daytime school counsellor, night time word wrangler. Her first novel, Summer of the Silk Dragon, is making the rounds of publishers, looking for the right home. Ali blogs about books and writing on Spilling Ink, her personal blog, and about cyber-parenting on e-Quipped. (www.e-quipped.com.au) The link to Ali’s personal blog is www.ali-stegert.com

Enjoy!

Jeanette O’Hagan

You can read a hyptertext teaser for Akrad’s Children – called My Sister – here.

Or join me on Facebook here.

 

NaNoWriMo 2013

Today is the first of November. Apart from being All Saints Day and significant in countless other ways  (e.g. nuclear fusion happened for the first time on earth in 1952) it is the first day of NaNoWriMo.

The National Novel Writing Month (read International) – where writers, initially in the USA but now around the world,  accept the challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month – the month of November. No mean feat.

I found out about NaNo last year, joined up and completed the challenge. The result? More than the first half of Akrad’s Children written.

This year, I’ve signed in again though I might be starting from behind with a camp this weekend and the major assessment for the Online Writing unit of my Masters due on Monday – but I’m hopeful I can catch up.

My project this year? The third book in the Akrad Legacy‘s trilogy – Mannok’s Betrayal.

I will keep you posted on how I’m doing.