Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer Vacation Blog Hop

It feels weird to be writing a post about summer vacations right now when it's about three degrees and I'm sitting at my desk wrapped up in my fleecy dressing gown over my clothes….  But just because it's winter in the southern hemisphere, doesn't mean it isn't summer somewhere.  And thinking about summer might warm me up a bit!

My favorite summer vacation spot is the family beach house in Kaiteriteri.  I've been there every summer for the last eleven years (at least) and it's the place that springs to mind when I think 'summer'.

I think I've probably posted this photo before (usually when I'm going to Kaiteri), but honestly, how beautiful does it look?  Our house is not on the main beach, but back along the estuary that you can see at the left of the photo.  When the tide is up, we kayak on the estuary.  When it's going out, we like to go and hang out at 'the river' where the water gushes out toward the sea.  It's really fun to ride the current out into the open water on a boogie board or even just on your stomach.

Internet and mobile coverage in Kaiteri isn't great, so going on vacation there is a way to get way from the real world.  But it's only a fifteen minute drive to town so you don't feel like you're entirely cut off from the world.

Kaiteriteri is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park and we like to go walking in there.  Because the whole track takes about 3 days to complete each way, we often take a water taxi to one point and then walk to another and get picked up.  Otherwise we'd end up walking the same stretch of track every time.

The water is always way warmer than it is in Wellington and it's a rare day we don't swim at least twice in the sea.  Usually only when it rains because when it rains down there, boy does it rain!  So we have a good supply of board games in the cupboards.

Basically, it's a beautiful place to go to relax.  My parents live down there for a few months over the summer and are always willing to take the kids for a couple of weeks which is fantastic for them.  And I think for my parents too...

What's your favorite vacation spot?

"My Favorite Summer Vacation Spot" Blog Hop is sponsored by Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill!
For the Linky List and Book Giveaways visit the 6 Co-Hosts:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 29-5-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I got an email from my agent saying she loves the revision I sent her a few weeks back.  What a relief! I was terrified she'd hate it and I would have to try and figure out something else to do with it.  So… Phewww!

My new book is going well.  I'm almost at the 10K mark and I know where I'm going over the next few chapters, so I think I'm on track to meet my goals (for a change).  I'm having fun with this one because the two voices are fun to play off each other.

I've made some pretty delicious new breads over the week.  I've become a huge fan of 'super-grains', a mixture of ground chia seed, quinoa and barley.  It makes absolutely delicious bread whatever flour you blend with it. And it's super good for you!

It's a long weekend this weekend, so celebrating the extra day off even though I know it's going to make my busy week next week even busier….

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Books I've Loved - Rose Under Fire

A few years back everyone was talking about this book called Code Name Verity.  It was about a girl pilot during WWII who was captured.  I read it, enjoyed it, but didn't quite get why it was getting the rave reviews everyone seemed to be piling on it.

Then I found this follow-up book and in my humble opinion, this is the one that should have got rapturous reviews.

It's not an easy book to read.  Set in a WWII concentration camp, Rose is subjected to some of the most inhumane treatment anyone could ever endure.  Her fellow prisoners are abused and mistreated horribly.  But what a group of women she's in with.  Every character is unique and fascinating and strong.  And when they can't be strong, the rest of the group are strong for them.

This is a book that really delves into the resilience of the human spirit.  It shows how even a tiny shred of hope can be enough to let someone survive the worst indignities known to man.  And it shows the lengths people will go to to help one another.

I was sucked wholly into this world, horrible as it was.  And I couldn't put the book down until I knew the fate of every woman in Rose's cabin.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb…

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekly Goals 25-5-15

After sort of accidentally starting a new book last week, I'm well into it now and am quite certain it's the book I'm supposed to be writing now.  I have settled into both the POV voices easily where in my other project I wrote about 20K of different POVs and wasn't happy with any of them.  So for now, I'm going with this project.  My goal is to hit 10K by the end of the week.

My other big goal for the week is to try and make it to the gym more than once.  I have all the best intentions, but every week things stand in my way of getting home early enough to go and still get dinner for the kids at a reasonable hour. Maybe I need to start feeding them at unreasonable hours…

What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 22-5-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I accidentally started a new book.  I was working away at my painfully-slow-to-come book, and suddenly an idea popped into my head that felt too intriguing not to explore.  So I opened a new document and started writing.  And this one is coming way easier.  So I'm going to leave the other project alone for a bit and focus on this new one until I get stuck.

I went to see a band play last night and caught up with an old friend from Australia.  It's been ages since I went to a gig and I enjoyed it very much.

I have a day off from work today because my partner is working and I need to pick up the kids from school.  Before that I'm going to take care of all those boring things I never have time to do when I'm working - going to the dentist and that kind of thing.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Books I've Loved: Black Iris

Wow!  I don't even know how to start with this book.  It's dark and twisted and disturbing and sexy and oh, so, so beautiful all at the same time.  The narrator is unreliable, but tells you right from the start so it shouldn't be a surprise when she turns out to be the most sadistic, fucked up person I've ever had the pleasure??? of spending a few hundred pages with.

There are so many layers of betrayal here.  Family. Friends. Lovers. Enemies.  It's no wonder Laney's head is all over the place.  Not to mention the streak of mental illness and drug abuse that threads through everything.

This book deals with heavy stuff.  Nasty stuff.  But it deals with it in such gorgeously beautiful prose, you almost forget how repugnant some of these people are and how wrong their actions are.  It says a lot when you adore a book even when you hate all the characters in it.  And that's this book for me.  I couldn't put it down even though the people in it literally made we want to vomit.

Definitely not a book people looking for a nice, safe story with some hot sex in it.  The sex is there, but there's nothing nice or safe about this book.  In the best possible way.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb…

“Love is not a thing that we create. It’s an undoing.”

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekly Goals 18-5-15

Not much different this week.  Again I didn't hit the word count I'd hoped to over the last week.  I'm 3K shy.  Given this is a weekly occurrence now, I'm revising down my projected weekly/daily word counts.  I used to do 1500 words per day no problem.  Now I think I have to be happy with 1K.  Maybe once I get further into the meat of the story, the words won't be so hard to come by and I can shift up again.

So, my goal is to hit the 17K mark by next Monday.  I may be pushing it because this week is a very busy one, but I'll do my best.

I got a bread maker for my birthday and my goal is to make all our bread from now on.  I just need to work out a good schedule for making it so it's ready at the key times.  Especially since it is hard to slice when it's too fresh.  Right now I'm going quietly insane at the scent of fresh cornbread cooling on the counter…

What are your goals this week?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Celebrate the Small things 15-5-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's my birthday.  So regardless of what else is going on, I'm celebrating (or perhaps mourning) being another year older.  I'm having lunch with a friend today, and tomorrow night I'm going out for dinner with some girlfriends.  As usual I left it too late to organize anything, and most of my friends are busy, but I have five people joining me, including a friend I haven't seen in a few months.

We had a storm yesterday with rain so heavy many places flooded and both the main roads in and out of the city were closed.  I'm lucky that my house remained dry, and I live in an area that was unaffected by the road closures and public transport shutdown.  Some of my colleagues were not so lucky.

I've made some progress on my WIP and have hit 11K.  I'm feeling okay about it and will keep writing forward rather than going back and changing things I already know I want to change.  I figure  there will be a lot of things I want to change and it's better to have the basic shape of the story there before going back and changing things.  Changes always end up having ripple-on effects, so it's better to wait and change everything at once.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Books I've Loved: All The Rage

I just finished this one on Monday, and wow!  What a powerful story.  What an important book.  I've read other books that dealt with rape and surviving rape, but this book feels so honest about the feelings.

The main character, Romy, is kind of a bitch.  I didn't like her most of the way through the book, but I understood why she was a bitch.  Sometimes acting that way is the only defense.  Everyone around Romy treated her so badly, it's little wonder se put walls up to keep them out.

The other thing I liked about this one is that Romy's mother was very present.  She didn't understand what was going on with her daughter either, but she was there and she cared and she did her best with what Romy offered.

And the romance in this book is perfect in that it's barely a romance at all.  Romy isn't in a place where she can do that, and the book is completely honest about the way Romy acts around the boy who likes her, who she likes, but can't get close to without losing her mind.

But, if you don't trust me, here's the blurb:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weekly Goals 11-5-15

First up, I have to confess I didn't hit the 10K mark on my WIP as I had hoped.  I'm sitting at 7K, so I'm a little disappointed in myself.  But in my defense, I did write most days.  It's just the writing isn't coming as smoothly as I'd like it to.

So my goal for this week is to keep going.  This time next week I'd like to have finished what I'm calling 'Day One'.  The book takes place over 4 days, so I'm aiming at roughly 15K per day.  So by next Monday, I'd like to have gotten through that first day.

We shall see how we go…

Busy week ahead at work.  Half the Cannes contingent left on Friday and the rest go tomorrow, so the next couple of days will be crazy as we try to get all the print documents etc. ready to go.   I'm hoping that after that things will calm down a little bit and I might have time to focus more on the two big projects I have of my own.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cover Reveal - The History of Us

I'm really excited to be able to share the cover of my friend Nyrae Dawn's new book with you today.  Isn't it pretty? It fits in perfectly with the theme of this blog, doesn't it?  Fiction and Film... And very different to other covers Nyrae's had over the years.  And not only is the cover gorgeous, what's between them is pretty damn cool too!

Sometimes it's not about coming out, it's about settling in.

Eighteen-year-old Bradley Collins came out a year ago and hasn't looked back since. Who cares if he doesn’t know any other gay people? Bradley has friends and basketball—that’s all he needs. Even if that means always sitting on the sidelines when the guys go out looking for girls.

When cute film-boy TJ tries to flirt with Bradley while his friends are doing their thing, he freaks. Yeah, he’s gay, but he’s never had the opportunity to go out with a boy before. He’s never had to worry about how his friends will react to seeing him with a guy. 

Bradley accompanies TJ on a road trip to film TJ’s senior project documentary. In each city they visit, they meet with people from different walks of life, and Bradley learns there’s a whole lot more to being honest about himself than just coming out. He still has to figure out who he really is, and learn to be okay with what he discovers.

Available June 11, 2015

Pre-order links. Pre-order is not yet live on any site other than the publisher website. 

Nyrae's website:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Books I've Loved: A Great and Terrible Beauty

This is another one of those books that on the surface, I shouldn't like.  Yet I loved it.  I loved the whole trilogy.  I usually don't read fantasy and there isn't much more fantastic than schoolgirls discovering a way into another world complete with fairies and monsters.  But despite these elements that usually make me groan, roll my eyes and toss the book away, I couldn't put this one down.

The characters are so vivid and real and the fantasy world they visit is so dark and twisted, I couldn't help but be hooked.

But if you don't trust me on it, here's the blurb...

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel. 
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekly Goals 4-5-15

Now the A-Z is over, it's back to normal here at Fiction and Film.  So to keep myself accountable, I need to set myself some goals for the week.

I feel like I've found (finally) the right way to tell my story, so after three or four false starts, I'm actually settling into my book.  And I'm not having to write the religious zealot character first after all.  She'll take over in the second half of the book which will be easier because the other character will have set up the world of the story and the central event.


I hope to hit the 10K mark before next week's Monday post.

Fingers crossed things keep progressing as smoothly as they have the last few days.  I'm not going to make the deadline I set myself, so when I have a better idea how things are going, I'll set a new one.  I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of July 1st or so, but I don't want to commit to that right this minute.  Maybe if I hit that 10K mark when I want to.

I'm slush reading for WRiTE Club this year and we have 170 entries to get through.  500 word excerpts don't feel like a lot, but 170 of them is a lot of reading!  I was smart enough to read the ones that came in early as they came in, but there was quite a torrent in the last few days and I have over 50 left to go.  So I'll be chipping away at that over the next two weeks.

And to add to my reading, I have five proposals and scripts to read for work…

I think I'll stop here because I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by everything I have to do already!

What are your goals for this week?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 1-5-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

The A - Z blogging challenge is over!  It's been fun, but boy has it been hard work this year.  I went without a theme and just winged it each day which was far more challenging than I thought.  Especially since most of my posts ended up being written at the ass-crack of dawn or last thing at night before I went to sleep.  But I made it.  Four years running now!

I'm also celebrating being back in my writing routine.  I took a couple of weeks off (which I really enjoyed), but getting back into the writing habit hasn't been as hard as I expected.  Actually writing the book I hoped to write, well… That's a whole other story!

And that's about it from me this week.  It's one of the weeks where all the applications for production funding come in at work, so I have a huge pile of proposals and scripts to read.  Plus half my team are going to Cannes at the end of next week, so the day job is pretty darned busy!

I guess I'm grateful to be writing at all!  I probably shouldn't even be attempting it right now….

What are you celebrating this week?