Belated Celebrations

January and the beginning of February was an interesting time for me, with some news that I thought I was coping quite well with, though in hindsight perhaps I was not… but all’s good now (I think), and there were a few good things that happened that I want to mention:

First, myself and two of my writing buddies: Aislinn Batstone and Kelly Matsuura, were published in the Independent Author Index’s Short Story Compilation, volume 2 on 31 Dec 2012 (Aussie time). I did start to read this, but only got a few stories through before life was temporarily turned upside down. I can say, that the stories I read so far are incredibly diverse – from writing style, to topic. Some I loved, some I wasn’t so impressed with, but even so I’m really looking forward to getting back into it again and reading the rest of the stories. The compilation is available for sale in ebook form from Amazon.  With stories to suit every taste, I think it’s worth the low price of $2.99!

The second bit of good news is another compilation! Those same ladies from my writing group and I were published in The Flashing Type, Issue 1: 50 Stories from freeflashfiction.com. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember that I had a flash fiction fantasy “One” published at Free Flash Fiction around the middle of last year. That story is now available in the compilation, which is available for an even lower price of 99 cents! This is one I have not yet had a chance to read, but I’m looking forward to getting to it soon.

Also, I submitted a query for my novella – A Faery Dream, to The Wild Rose Press, and the full manuscript was requested. Confirmation that I can write a decent query lol!

I was lucky enough to win a critique in early January by Joanne Wadsworth. She looked over the first 4 pages of my story, Red Sky. If you remember (did I tell you?) I entered this into the Seizure novella comp back in November, and sadly it wasn’t chosen. However Joanne gave me some brilliant feedback. She had some very encouraging words on my writing, and pointed out where I could tighten the text. Every so often Joanne offers these critiques as prizes on her blog, and she has some great posts on writing – so go follow her!!

And the last piece of good news, is that I entered Red Sky, into ABNA – The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and it passed through first round! It was selected, along with 1999 others, from a total of 10,000 novels! That is amazing and I am so excited and nervous.  This is more confirmation on my ability to pitch, as it was the pitch that was judged in this round. Second Round is announced on 12th March (USA time – 13th March over here in Aus), and judges an excerpt of the story – up to the first 5000 words. I still have an anxious few weeks to wait, though I have a few old stories to edit, and new ideas to explore – so plenty to keep me occupied!

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Season’s Greetings!

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, etc etc to all my readers! Hope you all have the opportunity to gather with loved ones and celebrate.

This year has been amazing and I am thankful for so many things: First and foremost, of course, is my family – my partner, who supports  and encourages me  in all things, and my beautiful children, whose smiles brighten my day. I’m thankful also for my writer’s group without whom I would NEVER have been motivated to get this far!! I’m grateful for all the editors who’ve read my work, those who’ve accepted my pieces for publication, but also those who did not, yet gave me words of encouragement to keep writing, and try again.

I’m grateful to Allen & Unwin, from who I have won numerous prizes this year, (they have filled my bookshelves! Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson, Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith, Sharp Shooter and Sharp Turn both by Marianne Delacourt, The Boy Under the Table by Nicole Trope, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton) and had some great opportunities – joining in the blogging read-along of The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier, and another great opportunity I’m really excited about – The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. The book was delivered by my very friendly Australia Post lady today, and I was so excited about it I’ve put my current book aside (Cloudstreet by Tim Winton) and started on it already. (The Storyteller is due for release next year – look out for it – I only started it an hour ago and I’m already a quarter of the way through. It is brilliant! Jodi Picoult certainly does not disappoint with this one – the way she manages to delve so deep into the complexities of human emotion, and the human condition (I think that really is the best term for it), is absolutely amazing!!)

Oops – I seem to have digressed somewhat! I am thankful for you too – my readers and followers. It’s a bit strange sometimes – sometimes this feels a bit like a journal, a place to offload the random thoughts I occasionally have. So thank you for reading, liking, and commenting!

Again… I hope you all have a beautiful day where-ever you are and whatever you’re doing.

Blessed Be!

Feel like your story isn’t ready?

So, I’ve finished a story. It’s been edited several times over, and is as good as I can get it, for this moment at least.  Sometimes I know a story is good when I send it out, most times I don’t – most times I feel embarrassed that I am sending out such drivel!! Sometimes those stories that I know are good, are accepted, sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes the stories that I feel are drivel are rejected but sometimes, much to my shock, sometimes they’re actually accepted, given honorary mentions in competitions even.

I just finished reading Orson Scott Wells “How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy”. He has some very interesting points, but the thing that struck me the most – (probably because it reminded me in some way of Nick Hornby’s comments – that as writers our job is to write, and not judge our writing) – was Orson’s chapter entitled “The Life and Business of Writing”.

His advice, on stories that may or may not be ready for publication goes something like this:

“When your story is finished, let it go do it’s work. Don’t wait for it to gather dust on your shelf. Sure, if you let it sit there for a year and pull it down and look at it again, you’ll find all kinds of dumb mistakes that you’d never make today because you’re so much better now. But then, if you had sent it out and it had been purchased by a magazine, it would be appearing in print right now, and while you would still find those flaws in it, at least you would have been paid for it and your story would be in print and – here’s the good part – your readers will like the story just fine the way it is.”

He goes on to say that he is NOT advocating that writers should send out second-rate work,

“But a year from now you should be writing the story that you care about and believe about at that time, not reworking this year’s story…”

“Because the more you fiddle with your story, rewriting this paragraph or that one, the more likely you are to make it worse. There are things you instinctively do when the story is in it’s first rush out of your head that are truer and better than anything you’ll come up with as you second-guess, revise, intellectualize.”

 

So there you go! If you have a story, sitting there, waiting to be sent out in the world – Be Brave! Send it off – you might be surprised! And if you’ve already been brave – feel free to share your story with the rest of us – were you successful when you thought you wouldn’t be, or vice versa?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nanowrimo and the Young Writer’s Program – Day 1

from http://www.layoutsparks.com/1/187544/fire-breathing-dragon-image-31000.html

What a day! Spent the morning avoiding my story, because I still felt as though I was in editing mode and wanted to try and get out of that before I started. So I procrastinated by cleaning instead – you know the saying – a tidy house equals a tidy mind… or something along those lines. It sort of worked, though I find myself editing as I go. Must Stop Now!! I’m trusting that within a day or two, I will have reverted back into Nano-Mode and my inner editor will well and truly be locked away somewhere  – till December at least.

But anyway! New story ‘Dark Sea’ has began, and while it’s not flowing as well as it’s previous instalment I do feel I’m getting back into the flow of things. And I blitzed the word goal for today – reaching 2716 words.

My son was excited to finally be able to start on his story! Being only 6 years old, we went for a much smaller goal of 1500 words, 50 words a day. When he arrived home from school, I presented him with a blank notebook, and told him he could start. He wasn’t sure how to start, so I suggested describing his character. And so he began. A great description followed, getting him to 19 words, then, when I suggested a bit of action, came a bit more description, of his character’s skills in battle this time. This got him to 34 words, and by now his attention span was wavering. I suggested a line, and reworded my suggestion for mroe action. This time we got it – fire breathing dragons bearing down on the main character. That took him to 53 words, where he stopped, ending the days writing with “the end, up to here” lol.

I’m looking forward to the character fighting back tomorrow. He is supposed to be the best dragon slayer in all the world, so I have faith he’ll be successful! 😀

Anyone else doing Nano or YWP? Or know  a child doing YWP? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Don’t forget, I have four copies of The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton to give away this month, all you have to do to get your name in the draw is comment on any post! 😀 (For more info check out this post)

Six Sentence Sunday – Published Stories #3

My third story for this series is called ‘One’ and was published on Free Flash Fiction’s website in August of this year.

Freya watched as they slept. Their bodies moving as muscles stretched and relaxed, rolling and turning to shift their weight from one side to another, always in the other’s embrace.

“They move together,” she whispered to no one in particular.

“I see.”

She turned; surprised another should be so near. “Father, I…”

 

‘One’ is a fantasy flash fiction, about the Norse Gods and their decision to end the world.

To see how this story ends visit: http://www.freeflashfiction.com/index.php/stories/science-fiction-and-fantasy/one-by-heather-jensen/

The Harpist – New Flash Fiction Story

Just a short post today to celebrate another publication!!

The Harpist is a flash fiction piece about a young girl, forced into harp lessons and now a great harp competition, by her overzealous mother. The story shows how she takes control of the situation and finds the positives in something she has been dreading.

Published at  http://1000words.org.uk/the-harpist/

Check it out!! 🙂