Tag Archives: writers

June 2015: The Mid-Year Review

upcoming Improbable booksWith the recent zhuzhing up on my blog, I thought it was time to do another of my Mid-Year reviews as a round up of what’s been happening this year, and what’s coming up in the next twelve months.

If you’ve come here from one of my other blogs, you’re aware that I’m trying to streamline all my social media (of which I have way too much) so that I can spend less time on social media admin and more time on writing the very many writing projects I have lined up like ducks at a shooting gallery. Or like tequila shots at the bar. (Either way, it’s going to be messy.)

So welcome to the new-look Mortal Words blog, where I will write about the usual writing/reading/Melbourne/travel/as-the-whim-takes-me stuff – and to which I will add posts on music, Kitty & Cadaver related projects, stuff related to romance and erotica (which I also write) and more stuff-as-the-whim-takes-me. I may also repost some of the posts from the other two blogs here, for consistency and linking purposes and the like.

The first bit of housekeeping news to share is that my publisher, Clan Destine Press, and I are in the process of changing the name under which I publish my romance fiction from NM Harris back to the full, real me – Narrelle M Harris. Apart from the extra social media work generated by the split, we figured that since I usually write very action-oriented plots for my romance and erotica, it’s not really that different from my usual work (except raunchier in parts).

We’re also talking about getting some of my out-of-print work tidied up and more easily available too. I’ll announce those when the details are worked out.

TandB A Paying Client smallestSpeaking of my erotic romance stories – two have been released so far this year! The second story in the Talbott and Burns Mysteries, about the two-man Scooby gang of Elliot Talbott and his boyfriend Jack Burns was released in February. A Paying Client sees the lads investigating possible witchiness on behalf of their first-ever paying client, a housewife from Reservoir. Naturally, things don’t run at all smoothly.

BirdsFinal_v_smlIn May, Birds of a Feather was released – the first of the Hammer and Tongue series about Alice, an engineer, and her linguist girlfriend Nerida.

There will be more stories for both series in due course, and more for my sexy spy couple, Philip Marsden and Martine Dubois (including one set in Canada in the wilderness!).

I also had a short story, The Birthday Present, published in the Queermance 2 anthology, (last year, Late Bloomer was published in the first Queermance anthology). The anthology was published in partnership with the second Queermance Festival, held in Melbourne in February 2015.

(You can find buy links for all of those stories and my other books on the Shop page!)

I’m waiting on feedback before completing the final draft of my first erotic romance novel, Ravenfall – paranormal action adventure with vampires, precognitive dreamers, a fox spirit and a spate of murders. That one features James Sharpe, vampire, and Gabriel Dare, an artist.

ImprobablePressI’m also absolutely delighted that my pitch for a Holmes/Watson canon-era romance adventure set in Australia was accepted by new Holmesian imprint, Improbable Press – because queer readings of Holmes are not at all new, but a publisher for those kinds of stories is. The Adventure of the Colonial Boy will come out in 2016. Now to write it! If you want to keep track of that, and the other books being released (starting with The Six Secret Loves of Sherlock Holmes by Atlin Merrick, launching in October) you can Like the Improbable Press Facebook page. IP will run a variety of competitions, too.

EncountersKindleCoverIn Short Story news – my story Show and Tell will appear in a digital anthology, Encounters, later this year. I’ve also been writing short stories to submit to other anthologies, including Clan Destine’s And Then… due out next year. I’ll post as and when (I hope) those are accepted!

Alongside all of these projects, I have notes for more books (including a third book in the Gary and Lissa vampire series – I haven’t forgotten! – and a second book in the Kitty and Cadaver series).

Kitty and Cadaver itself is with an agent, but I am slowly working on scoring the melodies for the songs used in the book, and looking to collaborate with musicians to arrange, perform and record them. Already Ann Poore has done a lovely version of Gretel’s Lullaby on the harp. Those who were at Continuum 11 last weekend saw (and bought) the beautiful jewellery that was created from broken musical instruments, too.

omnivoreNot content with writing books, short stories and music – I’ve also been experimenting with design at Redbubble. I have a range of designs available, some of which include song lyrics, or personal mottos, or text relating to the romance writing (the Adventurous Hearts line).

And finally, I recently spent a few days in the Wimmera region of Victoria, visiting libraries and talking about Growing Up Reading or doing writing workshops on Killer Opening Sentences. But that’s a post for another time.

Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

BlainMineChristmasCatChristmas is 12 days away, which ought to prompt me to some kind of ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ doggerel, but honestly. I like you all too much to subject you to such dire yuletide whims. (I did once rewrite The Night Before Christmas, with our cat Petra in the leading role, and if my doggerel amnesty fails, I’ll subject you to that at a later date.)

The organised amongst you will have completed your Christmas shopping, while the rest of us are in the process of staring, aghast, at the calendar and wailing OH MY GOD, NO, I’M NOT READY, I’M NOT READY, I WILL NEVER BE READY!

I can’t do much to help you with that, I’m afraid, except offer a few suggestions of what you might get for the writer in your life. It breaks down into two categories: time and stuff.

Time

If the writer in your life is anything like me, the thing they need most of is time. Time to write. Time to plan. Time to just sit and think and think and think in an attempt to sort out that plot point that simply will not resolve itself in five minute snatches of contemplation over a cup of tea. If the writer in your life is a parent, and has a lot of household responsibilities as well, a little alone time for thinking is especially precious.

Some years ago, my dear friend Jehni and I arranged to take our mutual dear friend, Yvon, away for a weekend for her birthday. We went to a farm stay, a long way away from shops, cinemas or any other distractions. Meals were included, and we could look at the cows until they came home, if that was our desire. I think we puzzled the host family a little by essentially just bedding down in the guest section of the house and writing for three days. Yvon, who normally supported her husband’s business in the office as well as taking care of the home and feeding the family, had three clear days in which she didn’t even have to do the dishes. She wrote up a storm. Jehni and I weren’t too slack either.

Okay, so maybe this Christmas it’s not possible to give your writer honey three clear days without other responsibilities, but you can find other ways to gift them time. Perhaps you can offer a standing arrangement one night a week that you make dinner, do the chores and the running around, all those things, while they lock the door to their office and get five straight hours of writing done. Maybe you can take on breakfast duties and give them an extra half hour every morning. Perhaps you can come up with the cash and the time to send them off on a writer’s retreat after all.

Talk to them first, of course, to find out how best to arrange such time so that they can make the most of it. You’ll probably come up with some other useful ways to help your cherished writer find more time for their craft. It may seem intangible, but the results will be words on pages, and a happier honey.

Stuff

It’s possible, however, that the writer in your life is already managing their time well, or that it really isn’t possible to  gift them extra time in some way. Never fear – there is always fabulous writerly STUFF to be had!

The Sentence First shop sells T-shirts and cups based on wordplay, including the delicious “Inventing words is squingulously efflumberant”.

The Literary Gift Company has always been a favourite, too, with its quotable chocolate bars, word-related jewellery, and even author-themed gifts (here’s an amusing collection of items related to Agatha Christie,  Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes and Jane Austen. The Literary Ties are pretty neat too.

Of course, there are also the stationery standbys, like Smiggle, Kikki K and Typo. Those are good if you’re worried that an online purchase won’t reach you in time, as there are plenty of Real World™ stores to find.

So good luck with your shopping, and with your writing – and whatever the festive season brings (and however you celebrate it, or not) let your new year bring you inspiration, free WiFi and all the right words in the right order.

Merry Xmas!

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.