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

 

 

 

Cry of the Firebird Second Edition Giveaway

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In the last few weeks I’ve been in full editing mode. It seems to be around Christmas that  I tie up projects and turn ‘Editor Feral.’ I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have the time to write new material or if it’s because I need a month or so to start the year again, but it seems to have turned into a pattern.

This year the main book on the chopping block was the US Second Edition of Cry of the Firebird. I wanted to piss and moan about going back to it but I discovered something magical…Second Editions are for the writer to adjust those small niggly things that didn’t sit quite right the first time round, those random annoying things that probably only a writer would see, and finally end up being satisfied. I really enjoyed it which was a new experience for Editing Amy.

I am stoked how the new edition all turned out so I’ve popped it up on Instafreebie on giveaway. Get it HERE if you feel like giving it a go!

Description

A firebird hatches in the far corners of Russia, where gods still walk and magic slumbers, sparking a supernatural war that will tear the worlds apart.

Inspired by Finnish and Russian Mythology, ‘Cry of the Firebird’ is a noir paranormal series that brings to life the bloody fairy tales of the North in a new modern setting.

Born on the crossroads between worlds, Anya’s magic is buried deeply until one fateful night it causes a firebird to hatch on her farm. Through a twist of dark magic it is sharing its body with Yvan, an ancient prince from legend.

With Yvan’s dark magician brother Vasilli and other powerful enemies closing in around them, Anya has no choice but to sober up and follow Yvan into Skazki, the land of monsters and magic.

Kirkus Reviews says ‘…the story incorporates a fair share of surprises, and never fails to provide new scenes featuring bloodshed and strange new creatures…’

 

 

Free Fantasy Book Promos on Instafreebie

Hello Everyone

I just want to drop a quick line to let you know that I have two Instafreebie promotions running over Christmas. As a writer, I highly recommend Instafreebie for promotions, they are easy to use and a lovely company to work with. As a reader I’m up to my  eyeballs in amazing new books thanks to them.

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Cry of the Firebird

A firebird hatches in the far corners of Russia, where gods still walk and magic slumbers, sparking a supernatural war that will tear the worlds apart.

Inspired by Finnish and Russian Mythology, ‘Cry of the Firebird’ is a noir paranormal series that brings to life the bloody fairy tales of the North in a new modern setting.

Born on the crossroads between worlds, Anya’s magic is buried under grief until one fateful night it causes a firebird to hatch on her farm. Through a twist of dark magic it is sharing its body with Yvan, an ancient prince from legend.

With Yvan’s dark magician brother Vasilli and other powerful enemies closing in around them, Anya has no choice but to sober up, follow Yvan into Skazki, the land of monsters and magic.

Find it here: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/Q9gh6

amykuivalainen_theeglekey_ebook_final

The Eagle Key

In the spirit of “The Princess Bride,” “Stardust” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” comes a story of adventure, redemption, magic and the ever perilous True Love.

After a hasty wish on the Evening Star, pensioner Martha Brown finds a key with the power to open the heart of all that it touches. When the Eagle Key opens a door to Faerie Martha is spurred to action. Fuelled by her anger at growing old without any adventures at all, Martha packs her bags and heads into Faerie determined to find one.

Saved from a carnivorous rose bush by Greyfeather, a wanted criminal, blatant flirt and scoundrel, Martha agrees to give him the use of the Eagle Key in exchange for helping her navigate her way through the pitfalls of Faerie.

Find it here:
https://www.instafreebie.com/free/zT28x

Thanks

Amy xo

Free Story PDFs -My New Thing

You might have seen back in my New Years post that this year I wanted to start putting Free Stories onto the blog for you to read, share, pirate whatever.

Today I have uploaded the first free story! Hurray! Because I’m SO excited about my release of Ashes of the Firebird this coming weekend I’ve uploaded the complete first novel of The Firebird Fairytales, Cry of the Firebird for your reading pleasure. You can find it here under the Books Tab of my Menu. 

My mind is bursting with stuff to write, load and advertise before the weekend (including a proper blog for Ashes) so bear with me folks and I’ll see you on the otherside 🙂  

 

Running and Reviews

There are times it seems that life has a way of moving so quickly that one has to be in a state of continual running to keep up. It has only been two months roughly since “Cry of the Firebird” has been released and I feel like I haven’t stopped once. Time management is a writers best friend but even the best laid plans can fray apart at the edges.

At the moment I still have a 40 hour a week day job, I am trying to finish a degree, research a new book, ready another book for release (more on that in a bit), figure out marketing and do some freelance writing work on top of that. It is a juggling act that has a tendency to not leave a lot of spare time. I am trying to find a happy middle ground but it can certainly be a struggle some days.

Being a writer means a lot of time in front of a key board being a crazy shut in. Recently I have discovered a new kind of Zen in the form of running.

Let me be very clear here…I am not a natural runner or in any way athletic.

IMG_2343I am being generous when I use the term running, it’s more of a sweat soaked ambling with momentum, German Shepherd leading the way. I have two big dogs that need the exercise. My mastiff is an old man now so he comes for a few laps around a local paddock and decides he wants to go back to bed. My Shepherd is five and he needs more. When my brain has been turned to a gooey white noise mush Duke and I have been having adventures together.
Check him out…Handsome Devil isn’t he? For the moment I happen to live in one of the most ridiculously beautiful places in the world so it’s not great burden to go for a run where the road is enclosed in cool rainforest, stellar views and waterfalls.

IMG_1987This has been doing me (and Duke) the world of good not only physically but in clearing my head. On our walks I have been unravelling plot problems, uni assignments are getting dissected, short story ideas being generated and the great big questions asked such as  “If I keep this workload up will I hit a wall or like the Flash reach a point that when the wall comes I will be able to pass through it without exploding into red mist?”  The good news is that there is no red mist yet. The theory of Solvitur Ambulando, it is solved by walking, is a practice that has merit and deserves cultivation. It is working and the wall (for the time being) is still a long way in the distance.

Another thing I am trying really hard not to do is feed my fears. It is the most destructive thing that anyone, not just writers, can do to themselves. I am approaching things at the moment with a bald faced cockiness that I don’t always feel but I think if I stop and question any of it I might turn into that quivering red mist. The biggest fear I have been refusing to feed at the present has been on waiting to hear back about my review from Kirkus.please-do-not-feed-the-fears

In the early stages of “Cry” I sent it to a manuscript reviewer. They picked it apart and did not hold back on their criticism. Some would argue that it is what I paid them for. I can’t disagree but at the time it was a heavy blow. I was determined to take the valid things that they said onboard and give the bird to everything else. I can look back now and say it was one of the best things I went through, it forced me to rewrite with a furious kind of “I will show you ALL” attitude. I liked where it took me and the story. This particular incident, and the having my guts torn out through my nose sensation, has remained very strongly with me.

Recently I knew that I had to face the fear of potential heavy criticism so I sent “Cry” to Kirkus because if I was going to send it to be reviewed it was going to be the biggest, scariest and most reputable company in the business. When I saw the email waiting for me from Kirkus on Friday morning I almost puked on my keyboard. I had five weeks of trying not to acknowledge a tense anxiety ball and then…the review it wasn’t bad. Fear conquered. They made comment on one of my characters dialogue being a bit clunky that I will take note to keep watch of, but over all it was a good review. I have always written my way and so have never really felt like I needed someone like a publisher or critic to legitimatise my work. But still, it was a good feeling to know that someone appreciated my beasts and the “new” things I am doing to try and carve my space in the genre.

If you are interested the full review can be found here. I’m sharing a page with my hero Neil Gaiman, which is kind of mind boggling for this fan girl to comprehend. It has an interesting kind of symmetry considering it was his short story “Chivalry” and itScreen Shot 2015-04-12 at 4.08.35 pms phoenix egg that got my mind asking the questions that turned into “Cry.” If anything was needed to make me feel like a legit writer than that was the moment.

I’m working on getting together my next release at the moment as well. It is called “The Eagle Key” and it will be released in the next month as an ebook. It is  not the next Firebird Fairytales but a fairytale for adults that I wrote in frenzied six weeks. It deserves its own blog post so in the mean time I am off to keep running and facing fears.