Writing is Love, and Love is Hell

Quote of the Day, via Terrible Minds blog by the amazing Robyn Bennis (read it)

Pretty much sums up how I feel about my current WIP…

“Love Is Hell

I love to write. A lot of you love to write, I bet. But, as with any love, there are days you hate it. Some days, writing feels like endless toil. There are days when writing acts distant for no apparent reason, because writing can be a passive-aggressive jerk. Writing is the sort of lover who breaks up with you, then slinks in naked while you’re taking a shower, like nothing happened. You’ll stay up all night with writing and regret it when you have to go to work in the morning. There’ll even be times when you’re trying to focus on something else, but writing won’t stop talking to you no matter how politely you ask.

Simply put, writing is an asshole. Writing steals your money and spends it on stupid things, like another gimmicky book on how to write better, and then it acts like it bought that book for both of you. Writing will take you to heaven and back all day long, but the next morning it’ll be gone without even leaving a note.

Because writing is love, and love is hell.”

I am a Writer right?

Chuck Wendig, the bearded writer guru and gnarly writer, published a great blog over on his kick ass blog Terrible Minds called ‘A Reminder Of What Makes A Real Writer’.  In it he makes this very true point:

‘There exists no one way to write any one thing, and as long as your writing has a starting point and an ending point, I think whatever shenanigans go on in the middle serve you fine as a process as long as it gets you a finished book heavy with at least some small sense of satisfaction. If you’re not finishing your books, you need to re-examine your process. If you’re not at all satisfied with your work, then again: re-examine that process.

And that’s it.’

And it is..so why the hell writers struggle so much to own it? Why do we look to others to give it definition?

There’s a bit of heated conversation going on about whether having a degree gives you that tick of approval from society and peers, a magical That’ll do, little writer, that’ll do moment where you will suddenly be seen as the artist you are.

Yeah, sorry guys it’s not gonna happen.

A degree is great but when you graduate you still have to get a job and if you are lucky enough to get a job in say, publishing, (and these are few and far between, especially in Australia) you’re still going to be put on the same wage as someone working in retail. I recently saw a job for a publishing assistant where they wanted someone with a degree and minimum 2 years experience… for a wage I used to get in customer service. A degree might help you get a job but its not going to necessarily help give you writer validation.

My point is no one is ever going to give you the “I AM NOW A WRITER” moment and a degree, job in publishing, or a book out won’t always help either. I know this from experience. I’ve been writing full time for fifteen years and have written twelve books and it has only been in the past two months that I’ve been able to say ‘I am a writer’ when people ask what I do, not ‘I work as a contractor for the government…and I also write a bit.’ I had this moment not when any of my books came out, when I saw them on a shelf in a bookshop, not when people have been repeating it to me over and over again over the years. This moment came when I rang a recruiting company about a contract for content writing and the consultant I talked to said, “Your resume looks like an Administrator resume. You need to write it again and put all that experience you just told me about at the beginning.” And I had to sit down and really go through the process of spelling out all the experience I do have in black and white. At the end of it I was like, “Fuck me, I AM a writer.” I had been doing the job thing all wrong over the years believing I was an administrator and not a writer. I don’t think I am the only one out that does this to themselves.

I recently read a great book by indie powerhouse Joanna Penn called The Successful Author Mindset. In it she talks about having to use “I am a writer” as a kind of mantra until she believed it. She even starts the book straight up with self doubt and imposter syndrome because every author on earth feels it:

‘Embrace self doubt as part of the creative process. Be encouraged by the fact that virtually all other creatives, including your writing heroes, feel it too with every book they write.’

I personally don’t read a lot of self help for writers type books but I have huge respect for Joanna Penn and this book really helped me out to realign my brain in a time I needed it (Derek Murphy also gives really good advice for writers and his courses are fantastic and have helped me alot).

I still need to go back and read these chapters regularly because I’ve started writing a new book that scares the shit out of me. I’ve tackled some big ones before but this is next level for me. There is a lot of research involved and has the tingly potential to end up being the best thing I’ve ever written or a heaving pile of crap. Its terrifying and intimidating and its helping me grow and write in new ways. DO I think I have the talent to do it justice? Hell no. Am I going to do it anyway? Hell yes.  Because that’s what makes us writers right? We give up our social lives and our rec time and we work unsatisfying jobs to pay bills while we hustle words and try and write the ones that scare us and helps us grow and maybe makes us money.

So what if were are anxious and insecure and feel like we are walking down the street naked every time we release words into the world that will judge us..we are writers its how we operate.

I am not going to be around too much in the next few weeks, I am going crazy full editor mode to get Eastern Gods, my new YA Fantasy book, all ready to pitch to Kindle Scout. The thought of releasing this one soon is pretty exciting as it was the first book I ever wrote that I was really proud of. It’s taken a lot of work to get it up to scratch and I’m stoked how it has come together. I’ll tell you guys more about it when I get closer to knowing dates and have a cover to share.

In other Amy book world news, Wylt is going well so check it out if you dig gothic romance, and Cry of the Firebird is on a price drop for those who want grittier, urban fantasy with lots of Gods and monsters.

Also, if you want something short, steampunky and based in an alternative Australia check out my new short story a Women in Men’s Waistcoats.  It’s a lot of random fun.

Keep writing you crazy beautiful writers,

A xo




You Need to Check out this Blog – How To Create Art And Make Cool Stuff In A Time Of Trouble

Hey writers

Chuck Wendig put up a great blog post today on how to keep creating when the world is crazy and it’s getting to you. I highly recommend you have a read and keep the art love flowing:

‘Art is how you fight back. It’s how you take ALL THIS NOISE inside your heart and FORCE IT OUT. The tools of the creator are conduits for expression — and it’s totally okay to express your rage, your bewilderment, your grief, your overall teeth-gritting and pants-shitting distress. Funnel it all into the work. Don’t be afraid of that. Don’t be afraid to bleed on the page and yell at the screen and metaphorically punch the work into shape. This is your barbaric yawp. Your tools can be your weapons. Your art can be your battlefield. This can be how you resist.’

Find it here

Happy writing


Let’s Stop Cannibalising Ourselves and Start Making Art

I can’t be the only one that’s noticed inflammatory shit happening in the world of writing in the last few weeks. There was Lionel Shriver’s smug speech and the subsequent uproar a.k.a. Brisbane finally gets publicity apart from Tom Hiddleston’s visit and there was also Merritt Tierce’s article in Marie Claire a.k.a the Crying Starving Artist Personified or WTF is going on with Traditional Publishing or Writing isn’t a REAL JOB.

Ultimately these things focus on some big issues surrounding writers and the publishing world especially in the categories of representation and supporting your artists. They also highlight my ongoing frustration with artists everywhere called : Let’s put Labels on Everything and then Argue about Those Labels instead of Focussing on making Art.

I know a thing or two about labels. White, blonde, female. People put those on me like I’m somehow white privilege personified. I recently read an article that tore apart how I look and told me I shouldn’t dare to write a character with those attributes. I find this kind of amusing because one of the reasons why I started writing as a teenager was because all the white, blond, female characters where love interests or sexy lamp shades that hung around to be rescued. I didn’t have an Aelin from the  Throne of Glass series to look up to. Have you seen one blonde in Star Wars? The closest I have gotten is Satine in Clone Wars who’s a pacifist that waits for Obi to bail her out all the time. The only blonde I could look up to was Eowyn from Lord of the Rings and thank God for her.



Dumb Blonde. There’s another label people like to put on me before they get to know me. I started writing with a blonde female protagonist to try and shake off that label too. It’s also assumed that I was a mean popular girl at school. Let me tell you something right now, I was probably the most bullied person in any school I went to. Oh sure I’m white and blonde but  a last name like Kuivalainen  was enough to wipe out any chance I had to fit in with the Aussie kids. Being half caste means you never belong anywhere; too weird and foreign for the Aussies, too Aussie for the Finns. I lived in a western New South Wales town and was bullied by Aboriginals for being white. I had rocks thrown at me because of what the whites did to their ancestors, even though mine weren’t early settlers but being ruled by the Swedes and Russians at the time. I’ve seen racist on the faces of every shade and nationality.

Christian Kid was another label that was whacked on me as a child and I got bullied about that too in a so called Western Christian country. Yeah, it’s not just the Muslim kids that get picked on about their religion in Australia. My parents raised me in the church and I knew by the time I was 15 that I was always going to be too argumentative and rough for the Christians. If you want to know, I was bullied by other Christian Kids too.

In recent times a label has been Self Published Writer. One of the reasons why I turned to SP is because I was told by Traditional Publishing professionals that my books were too foreign to be marketable. I’m a paranormal fantasy writer, a genre writer, and to some that doesn’t count as real writing because I don’t write literature. I refuse to be a starving artist or bitch about how publishing some how owes me a life where I can write full time. I won’t stop writing or publishing because I still have to work a 40 hour a week day job or because I’m also finishing a university degree. I do a lot but I’m able to have the luxury to write and publish books. I’m fucking blessed.

Labels, labels, everywhere no matter what you look like, where you come from, what you write, what you do. I write about displacement a lot in my books because I’ve felt bewildered and displaced my entire life.

I can see see why people are pissed off at Lionel and J K Rowling. If you are a writer that has the luxury of being able to write, do  your research. You have an infinite number of resources at your finger tips. Don’t be ignorant of the cultures you choose to write about. Be respectful. If you make mistakes, as we all do, own them and try and do better next time. People trying to get the point across about representation shouldn’t choose to pull down the white, blonde, heterosexuals of the world in order to do that. Respect guys, we all want it and we all have to fight for it.

The peace keeper in me tries to see things from all points of view even though ignorant arseholes can make that difficult. I can’t help but sit back and think that if all the writers and artists in the world united against something like the Syrian Refugee Crisis instead of using all this creative energy to attack and cannibalise each other, we could make a real difference.

Artist’s have the unique ability to jump into the heads of others, to see the world differently, so why are we using those abilities to attack each other instead of showing the world how to do shit better? Art is a universal language, it’s timeless and powerful, why do you think ISIS is determined to destroy it all time? It’s beyond skin colour and belief. It’s truth, it’s power.

Writing is magical. If you need to be reminded about how to be a writer or you need to remember that magic is real read this article about Alan Moore.

2016 has been a shit fight for everyone and as Chuck Wendig recently said so eloquently in his blog It is Art That Will Help Us Survive, “…let the art flow, motherfuckers. It may be the only way we stay sane enough to make it to 2017.”